Living in the Aftermath

It is the beginning of the fourth day since I bundled my best friend off to the Special Care (aka dementia) ward of a local residential care complex. I don’t think I could have done it without the help and companionship of Don’s caregiver. Words cannot describe my anguish, which comes and goes in waves.

My friends have been very kind and encouraging, showering me with virtual hugs and real invitations. Dinner, a long walk, phone calls. Reminders that I am only as alone as I want to be.

But the house remains silent and empty, except in my mind, when I forget and start to look for him, or hear him talking.

I cannot go to see Don yet. He needs time to settle in and I need time to settle down. By the accounts of those who have visited, the care is outstanding and skilled. For example, the mirror in his room was covered immediately, but Don reported that “that guy” had followed him to the Village, so the staff covered over the mirror in the public area too.

And he has met some navy guys who were in Korea too. And there is music. In fact we are going to bring his guitar.

As for me, it feels somewhat like living in shock after extreme violence, and emotionally that must have been what it was like. Being a prisoner to someone else’s disease, watching and censoring  every reaction, every word, all the time.

Anyway, that phase is over now. Other people are taking over…many people to do what I did most of the time alone. Don’t get me wrong — the caregivers, the small breaks, the family visits,  the overnights, the respite weeks, all kept me going, but in the end most of the time we were alone and dementia was in control.

I have been pulled back from some awful brink. It is a gift of time and renewed life and it is now up to me to make what I want of the rest of my life. Who knows? I don’t, but I do know the first practice needed, the first step to recovery, is what my friend calls “extreme self-care.”

In my brighter moments, I am looking forward to it.





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8 responses to “Living in the Aftermath

  1. Wendy Kotilla

    LOVE YOU!!! Wendy Kotilla 4327 Minto Road Courtenay, BC V9N 9P7 250-336-8487


  2. Wishing you all the very best in this next phase of your journey. One step at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Donna Naven

    Blessing to you xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. kathleen kinasewich

    Tears fall for you my sister….and for me , your words resonate with the ebbs and flows of also being caregiver….may time begin again anew for you ….just be , slow to start …

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kathleen kinasewich

    I hope somehow you can find it cathartic to keep some kind of blog going, there are some that follow what has been your and Don’s path and it has been like having a shoulder of understanding , sometime a virtual shoulder to cry on …but it has helped …and may continue to help others who face a long period in theirs lives while care giving for another with cognitive disease.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Chris

    My thoughts are with you and Don. Like Kathleen has said, I think your blog has had unseen benefits for many of your readers. I find your writings are deeply moving, maybe because I know you both or maybe because you write in the moment and emotions are raw. Whatever the case I wish you both the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. james

    Yes It is recovery dear sister…..must love one’s self now….big time….much blessings on your inner being as you find your way and laughter again deep within… are a dear soul who encourages me on my journey.
    Much love to you……much warm graceful love


  8. Peggy Ash

    Take care of yourself Delores and allow ‘you’ to recover before moving on to what happens next.