We tend to categorize loss.
The loss of a child is the pinnacle of grief. That’s understandable. The loss of a parent is also devastating. However, it wasn’t until my mother received her dementia diagnosis
that I genuinely understood that loss doesn’t always involve finality.
Dementia isn’t final, but as it continues its destructive trek through the brain, it also beats a path of mourning through the hearts of caregivers.
Mourning is typically associated with death, but a caregiver’s perception of the process is more closely related to the primary definition of the word "mourn," which is "to feel or express grief or sorrow
The mourning caregiver
Our mourning process begins soon after a dementia diagnosis. Grief arises as we begin to process the facts
that surround the cognitive disorder. Our loved one is still alive, but their loss is prevalent, as is ours.
Our days continue in the usual fashion. We don’t notice much change in our loved one’s demeanor. We continue to communicate and respond to one another as we always have. However, as loss gains momentum, caregivers find themselves falling deeper into the mourning process.
We are encouraged to express grief when a loved one dies. Avoiding the expression of grief keeps us from moving forward. Caregivers are stuck in the middle of the process. We face a challenge to communicate our grief or mourn the loss associated with a person who is still with us.
Caregivers don't mourn the loss of the loved one — at leas