When Your Loved One Dies, You Don’t Just Grieve the Death. You Grieve the Journey.

(The post below was written on April 14, 2020. My mom passed on April 4, 2020.)

The last few days have been rough.

Now that my mom’s service is over, I feel like the reality of her being gone is setting in. It feels like everything over the last ten years is hitting me all at once.

When you’re in the thick of it, going through the day to day of helping care for someone with Alzheimer’s, you don’t always have time to grieve all of the little things you’ve lost. Now that my mom is gone and we no longer have to worry about her care every minute of every day, it’s all coming back to me.

Not only am I grieving my mom’s death, I’m also grieving the loss of my “old” mom. I’m grieving the loss of every different version of my mom over the last ten years. I’m missing my mom from every single stage of the disease. And I’m missing her from before and after.

On top of all of these feelings, I just moved into a new house the day before my mom passed and I have barely unpacked anything. And we are in the middle of a global pandemic where everyone is quarantined, so there is nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no one to see to take my mind off of my grief. And Sunday was Easter, my first holiday without my mom here. And because of the quarantine, my family couldn’t even spend it together.

It’s a lot.

I know I’m going to get through this. I know I’m going to be ok. I know my mom is always with me because she’s in my heart. She has already been sending me signs that she’s here.

But right now, I am hurting.

For me. For my sister and my nieces. For my dad and everything he went through taking care of my mom, everything he did for her, things I don’t know that I could ever do for someone.

And mostly, for my mom. For everything she went through over the last ten years, everything she lost. She didn’t deserve to go through any of that.

No one does.

For now, I’m giving myself grace and space to work through my grief and process the last ten years. And also time to unpack all of these boxes.

April 14, 2020: When your loved one with Alzheimer’s dies, you don’t just grieve the death. You grieve the journey.

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