I always thought the final goodbye happened when death took you from this earth. Then on Mother’s Day, I realized the final goodbye for someone with dementia may come much sooner.
My brother J.R., who has dementia, has been spiraling down hill since February of this year. He was in the Psych Hospital in February and now on Mother’s Day he was placed there again.
J.R. has had 4 altercations with other nursing home residents since February. Saturday he went into the room of an elderly female patient and kicked her in both of her legs, bruising them very badly. He took her flyswatter to hit her and she began to scream and yell for help. J.R. does not know what he is doing, another section of his brain has died. That does not help those that he assaults. A police report was filed, an aide assigned to watch J.R., and a trip to the Psych Hospital the next day. I do not know yet if J.R. will be placed in a lock down unit for violent dementia patients.
My brother was always a kind, caring person, a preacher for 40 years. He was a great son, brother, friend, and human being. We miss his humor, his love, his hugs, his smile that would light up his whole face. J.R. has not known those who love him for sometime now. I see mentally that J.R. has disappeared before our eyes.
The stress for me for 3 years has been overwhelming and the guilt of my decisions for his life have caused me sorrow and remorse. I am once again shedding tears for J.R. You see – at last as I sit here on Mother’s Day I said goodbye to my brother J.R. and it broke my heart. I will continue to make decisions for his care. Do not judge me for saying my goodbye now unless you have dealt with the devastating disease of dementia. You have to eventually, emotionally, detach yourself from some one you have loved for years.
To those who are caregivers I want to say – when the mind is gone it is ok to say goodbye. Never feel guilty for decisions you have had to make for your love ones with dementia. Through stress, sorrow, and tears know that you have done your best. God bless all caregivers.