This is probably the most vulnerable and transparent thing I have ever said on this platform, so please be kind.
When I was at my deepest, darkest, lowest point of my mom’s journey with Alzheimer’s, I would actually get a little bit jealous when someone else’s loved one passed away.
Not because I didn’t love my mom.
Not because I wanted her to die.
But because I wanted so badly for the journey to be over.
I wanted so badly for our suffering to end.
I would get especially jealous if that person’s loved one had been diagnosed after my mom.
I remember thinking to myself, “What?! That’s not fair! How come they get to be done with this already and we have to continue suffering for so long?!”
It’s not lovely, but it’s true.
I was bitter, jealous, and extremely resentful of anyone who didn’t have to suffer as much or for as long as my family did. I wanted everyone to be punished as much as I felt like my family was being punished.
I wanted everyone to be as miserable and depressed as I was.
What I failed to realize at the time was that their suffering didn’t end when their loved one died. It just became a different kind of suffering. A much more permanent kind.
As time went on, I started to look at things differently. Whenever I heard the news that someone else’s loved one had passed away, I felt relieved that my mom was still with us. I felt dread at the thought that one day we would be the family with the bad news.
As horrific as this disease is, as much as you can’t wait for this journey to be over, there’s something about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel that makes you want to turn around and claw your way back into the darkness.
The thing is your loved one will not survive this journey. You will not emerge from this dark tunnel triumphantly with your loved one by your side.
Instead, you will emerge on your own. You will stumble out of this darkness beaten and bruised, wounded and scarred, and all the more worse for the wear.
In time, you will find a way to stand strong on your own, but I can almost guarantee you will wish you could go back into that tunnel.
It’s hard. I know. I get it.
But when it’s over, it’s over.
Please remind yourself of this when you find yourself desperately wishing for the end.
Because when it comes, that’s it. It’s done.
And there is no going back.