An Early Goodbye to Someone You Love


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.

23 thoughts on “An Early Goodbye to Someone You Love

  1. Mandy- Wild Red says:

    With what you’re going through its understandable that you need to say good bye. I can’t imagine the weight and responsibility this entails. I’m praying for you both along the way!!

  2. My heart goes out to you Liz, do not feel guilty from what you have told us you have done everything humanly possible for your brother.
    Sendng love to you at this difficult time and peace also of mind.
    I pray for your brother to be released from this terrible disease soon….

  3. What a heart-breaking post. Know you have always done and will continue to do, the very best you can for your brother. It is time to say goodbye. Sending all my love to you.

  4. It’s never easy, to admit to oneself, that someone you love is no longer here anymore, especially with Alzheimer’s and dementia, because the person’s personalities may be altered completely, and, s/he would act in ways you’d never seen the person, and, it CAN be shocking!

  5. I did this with my mother. My sister and younger brother also have dementia, sad disease. Sorry you had to go through this with your grandmother. Thanks for your comments.

  6. Thanks Mandy. Each time I do a post like this, I hope that I am not causing you to suffer because your mother is going through this. I do not believe I have ever dealt with anything this bad in my entire life. Hope someday they will figure out how to stop this awful disease. Love to you and your dad.

  7. Thank you. For my emotional state of mind I had to finally say goodbye, because I have to detach myself from the sorrow and pain. I think this is the worse thing I have ever had to deal with in my entire life. Thanks for your prayers and comments.

  8. I only know of my two friends whose mothers had dementia and Alzheimer’s. You say goodbye bit by bit as the illness progresses, which is so so hard. Be strong, and look after yourself too 🙂

  9. Oh Lizzie . The weight you carry & have carried is the whole world of another person whom you love so much you have tied him to you. You are a great sister. And your responsibilities have been immense. There will one day be a cure for this agonizing illness. I am sorry you had to live this throughout mother’s day, i could sense some thing was off. But you have been not only the mother to your children as well but your brother too. So salute yourself, you are a tough cookie with a beautiful heart. I hope for you the best and that things will better. ❤ anything you may need,you have a friend in me:)

  10. Thanks friend. My Mother taught me to be tough, but sometimes we aren’t as tough as we thought we were. My brother had a sad life, he lost everything he had to a woman business partner who stole his locksmith business and everything else he owned, using his dementia against him. All I could do was rescue him from her and do for him what I could. Life is hard, but I will make it. Thanks again for your friendship.

  11. Yes my dear friend, it is so true what you say. Sometimes i think why, why do this terrible things happen to kind people like your brother? And i seen so much of it. But then i am reminded that there are people like you Lizzie that are so strong&so kind that only with their presence, their words, their stories, their smiles they make a profound moving change in this world. You will & you are! I salute you! Thank you too, for you friendship. 🙂

  12. You deal with this so well – I always admire it.

    And I didn’t realize what your brother had done and been like before the dementia. It just makes the story all the more heart-breaking.

  13. People are so quick to judge. As you say, until someone has personal experience of dementia, it’s very hard to understand the emotional impact. It’s possible to say goodbye to the person you once knew but still care for the person with you today. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Duncan

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