Last night, I found out that someone from my hometown who had dementia died. I had posted about him about a year and a half ago. I never did meet him myself, but I had some contact with his wife and daughter recently as they were making decisions about placing him in a dementia care community. Today, as they were moving him into the facility they’d chosen, he had a heart attack and died. And I don’t know what to feel for them.
I’m devasted for his family. It’s so sudden and so shocking. After agonizing over the decision about how to move forward with his care, it’s all just been undone.
I’m relieved for his family. They won’t have to watch him continue to decline, to lose himself. They won’t spend a fortune on a dementia care facility and worry that the money might run out.
I’m devasted for his family. They don’t get anymore sweet moments with him. No more hugs or holding hands. They don’t have the privilege of caring for him and protecting him. They don’t get to tell him they love him.
I’m relieved for his family. They’ll never have to tell him they love him and have him look back at them blankly, not knowing who they are. They won’t have to fight for him to get the care he deserves, or deal with dirty diapers or disappearing hearing aids or choking incidents.
I’m devasted for his family – especially his daughter, who wasn’t there when it happened and so didn’t get to say goodbye.
I’m relieved for his family. His death was quick – no nights spent in recliners by his deathbed, waiting for his pain to finally end.
There’s no good way for this whole journey to go. There’s no easy path. Dementia sucks, plain and simple. So maybe send a little love out to the universe for his family – and all the other families coping with dementia – today, in the hopes that it will ease some tiny piece of their pain.