Grief on Hold

Wow, it has been an age again! I really must work writing here into part of my routine until it becomes a habit.

So anyway, Christmas has come and gone. It was nice. It had all the ingredients of a great Christmas – happy people, nice gifts, great food, fun and frivolity. But it did not feel like Christmas, and that makes me really sad. I think it is a combination of 2 things. Number one – my kids are getting older. They are 17, 16 and 14 this year. All they wanted was money. It just was not the same. We still had a nice time though. The other reason, the MAIN reason, is that my parents were not there. They are both now in care homes with dementia. I don’t know why – but they always made Christmas magical and exciting. I am trying to work our how and why that was but there is nothing specific. We did everything they always used to do. Nothing was different, but yet everything felt different. I just felt like a fraud going through the Christmas motions. I don’t get it.

this is the third Christmas where dad has not been there. With Mum it is a bit different. In 2020 she was in hospital and we could not even visit due to Covid restrictions. Last year she was home so that was nice, although she was a complete nightmare. Very demanding, very hard work. This year she went into hospital in October and was moved to a care facility approx 10 days ago, awaiting assessment. They will determine whether she can be cared for at home or not. I think it is 99.9% likely she won’t be allowed home. She can’t even stand with one person’s support, let alone walk. It took two nurses about 15 – 20 mins to take her to the toilet, which was right next door to her bed – like 10 steps away. I don’t think we could support her at home. Even before she went into hospital it was a nightmare. My sister moved in to care for her and mum would shout all through the night “help me help me, call an ambulance, I am dying” – that kind of thing. It was increasingly challenging. I went to see her just before Christmas and I brought her some gifts. She opened them but had no reaction whatsoever. She is quite vacant and blank. When she does speak its to say she wants to go home. That’s it. I went to see Dad as well and he was much the same. He pretty much said nothing at all. Although at one point he turned to me and said “are you going to vote for the Tories?” which was quite nice hahah as it showed a small amount of his old spark! Both of them were such big characters but all of that has gone now. They are not my parents. They are just shells of people who need nappies changing etc. It is heart breaking. I feel in a perpetual state of limbo about it. Like I am grieving but I can’t grieve – because they are still alive. Grief on hold. Over the past couple of days I have found myself thinking “I hope they die next year”. I don’t WANT to think that, I don’t MEAN to think that. The thought comes uninvited into my mind. I guess it is because I know this situation is only going to continue to get worse for both of them. They are both desperately unhappy in the care homes. They have no dignity. There is no cure….this is only going to end in one way. I feel like there is a sword of damocles over my head and I am just waiting for the call to say one of them has gone. I don’t want to lose my parents, but I have already lost them. I kind of want them to die so I can get on and grieve properly. I feel guilty for feeling that way, but that is my honest feeling.

Hey ho – let’s see what 2023 brings.

Log in to write a note
December 28, 2022

Hey – I just wanted to say I can really relate to your post. My parents are not at the point yours are yet, but last year was very difficult because my dad had a major stroke and was in inpatient rehab during christmas and we were not allowed to visit due to covid. My mom has been on dialysis for 6 years and did actually get a transplant in June, but she’s been needing to take care of my dad… it’s just not the same because even though he is here, he isn’t the same in many ways and our christmas’ are not the same. I read your post and I feel fortunate for what I do have, for now. My kids are also young still, and there is that joy and excitement that they bring, but we were sick so couldn’t share it with my parents/family.

Anyway – I just wanted to say I appreciate you sharing.