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Morwen Oronor Profile
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Mourning and grief


I realised today that end-of-life needn't mean death.

When we think about the people we love, and who've been part of our entire lives, we tend to think about them dying and having to deal with the grief of their loss. Sometimes it's not death that takes them from us. They're still alive, but they're not able to actively participate fully in that life.

In 2003 we placed my mother in a care home, and because I'd had her living with me, and under my care for 14 years, I took over the management of her needs until she died in the latter part of 2003.

At the time my two older sisters were actively in my life. One of them moved with us to the coast, and live with us for more than a year before she went back to be closer to her family. Since then she's lost two of her children, and as a result has also lost the will to live. So now she's just existing through every day, letting herself exist with the help of medicine to dull the pain of her loss. However, this also has removed her from our lives. I haven't spoken to her, and she hasn't made an effort to contact me for almost two years now, so I've accepted that she's lost and that the rest of her life is in the hands of her surviving children and the caregivers. We relationship is gone.

This week I had another conversation with the older sister which resulted in my having to call her daughter to tell her that it is my opinion that she has dementia. She's confirmed that she's about to get a diagnosis and to arrange for caregivers at the place she insisted she had to move to last year. I've also said that I don't have the capacity to deal with the abuse she inflicts on me in her loss of boundaries, it bothers me, and renders me unable to deal with the responsibility of my own mental health, and the care I need to give to people who need me.

So I'm essentially in mourning now. I have moments where I feel grief for the loss of a sibling relationship that became friendship in middle age, and has now just become telephone conversations that end in her screaming at me and clicking the phone to cut me off. I am sad for the loss of the person she was even a year ago. A brilliant mind has become just a jumble of lost memories and a regression into the anger and meanness of her teenage confusion. I'm sad that she's gone, but also fearful that this could happen to me too.

When I'm busy and enjoying my research, and my family, or something amusing I see on tv, I don't think about it and I'm fine. But then something reminds me of her, and I wonder if there was something I could've done to make this descent into dementia easier for her. This is the "bargaining" phase of grief. It's not easy but I have to go through the process so I can get past it.

I think outright death is a lot easier to deal with.
Mar/9/2019, 8:00 Link to this post Send PM to Morwen Oronor
 
Petal Alderin Profile
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Re:


I feel for you - and know exactly how you feel. But you could do nothing in either case, more than you did, Mo. Dementia is not your responsibility, and you can't help others deal with their grief.
Pot kettle ... but please try to just get on with your life; some families are just never close, not permanently.


---
Anything Goes
Mar/9/2019, 11:50 Link to this post Send PM to Petal Alderin
 
Morwen Oronor Profile
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The thing is that once I married Barry, and certainly after my mother died, we became very close. We used to speak more than twice a week, for ages. During that time I helped her learn about computers, which she picked up really quickly. I arranged for a Mac for her, then her children bought her a new PC, she switched between the two like a pro. Once she got internet she used to google for everything she wanted to know, and figured out how to use an iPad as recently as two years ago. She had a really good brain for technology. Still doe to a degree. But she found missed calls on an old phone she hasn't used in two years, with my number. So she phoned me to yell at me for using that phone "when you know I stopped using it". When I tried to reason with her that I didn't have that number anymore, and that I only ever WhatsApp her before phoning, she just talked over me about how how I was lying that I didn't want to admit I was stalking her on the other phone.

The conversation became completely incoherent on her side from there. To the point that I just felt it better to report it to her daughter so she could deal with it.

In our conversations over the years we've spoken about how we dread losing our minds. She said she'd want to know so she could help herself before she became what she is now. She doesn't have the capacity to grasp that her mind has gone now. So even though she was ready to end it at her own time, she's not aware of what's happened so it will only get worse from here on in.

It's really horrible knowing that they are both still alive but that, for my own mental health, I can't speak to them anymore. I'm terrified this will happen to me too.

I definitely don't fear dying, I've accepted this has to happen, but I am terrified that I won't.

Mar/10/2019, 11:19 Link to this post Send PM to Morwen Oronor
 
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Re: Mourning and grief


Disturbing thought indeed. Especially as most people in such state seem to be angry, frustrated or fearful.
There's the occasional blissful one, but that may just be the medication.

Got to wonder what it does to society that medicine helps people live longer, but that also increases the number of those incapable of functioning.

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Mar/10/2019, 16:43 Link to this post Send PM to Kaunisto
 
Morwen Oronor Profile
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Absolutely. The problem with planning to off yourself once your brain starts going, is that you don't know that your brain is letting you down. It would be a whole lot better to just drop dead when your brain begins to make you into a horrible angry person who screams at people without any cause.

I know I'm a reasonably decent person, even though I have moments of anger, and I don't allow people to take advantage of me (except my kids, they can do all the advantage-taking they like because they give me so much pleasure). I will stand up to anyone, give them a hard time if I feel I'm being taken for a ride. Mostly though I'm polite and friendly, and a laugh a lot. I'd hate to lose that. Not only that but to lose the ability to use a computer, or to be able to figure out technology, or to write a long essay. I'd really rather just die.
Mar/11/2019, 9:40 Link to this post Send PM to Morwen Oronor
 


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