My Dear Stepdad's fight with dementia is over. He passed away last night a little after 8:00. This is the first chance I've had to get on the computer and write.
I'm feeling all sorts of things. I had decided yesterday to sleep in because I was e-x-h-a-u-s-t-e-d from the days leading up to yesterday - of sitting with him, and crying, crying, crying. My plan was to get there later in the afternoon knowing he would have company during the day and that they all would head out once it started getting dark (around 4 PM). My plan worked and I ended up spending almost 3 hours with him. I played music he liked, talked to him, and just held his hand. I had alot of calm just spending that time with him. Little did I know he would pass away in less than an hour and a half after I left. I only live 10 minutes or so from the adult family home, but when his breathing changed, and the caregiver called me, he passed within minutes.
I decided I wanted to go over and see him even though he had passed. I had never seen a dead body before, but I just felt I needed to see him. I'll be honest - it was disturbing. I won't ever recommend to anyone what to do when it comes to seeing the body (without any of the funeral home embalming / makeup, etc) one way or the other. However, my mom was afraid to go - afraid of how he would look. Since it was night, and I knew she would have another opportunity, I didn't take her by to see him. I don't think it would have been good for her.
It almost doesn't seem real, but real it is. We're working on a service for this weekend. My mother is really out of it, but we all knew she would be. I know this next week is going to be difficult, but then I hope to find some normalcy again. It will be a big adjustment for me - not having him to look after and visit. I have no regrets. Am glad that I did what I did for the last nearly 4 years. Thanks everyone for your kindness and support. I hope I've helped some others in their journey also...........
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TC, I am so sorry for your loss but relieved that your step dad's journey is done. I am glad it worked out that you had time with him to say the things you needed to say and just be with him. It can give you the peace that you seek. I am sure you are numb and your emotions are scrambled. Just know that whatever you feel is ok. I also hope your Mom does ok. Know I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers for the strength and courage you will need.
It sounds as if his passing was peaceful, and you will always remember the last hours you were able to share with him. He was lucky to have you. Once you get through the arrangements, remember to take care of yourself. It's time for the family to celebrate his life before Alzheimers.
You will always have your good last visit to recall. Hope your mom will be ok in time. My sympathy to you and your family. Your Stepfather must have been a wonderful man to have so much love from family.
Jan, you have been a great help to others in this forum. It is just better when you have other people with you on the same journey. I pray you get through the funeral and the mourning period well, and that your good life resumes afterwards. It will be an adjustment but you will get through it. Death is an inevitable part of life, we are all heading in that direction. Dealing with it is life's hardest challenge (maybe after Alzheimer's) and we all learn somehow to go on, maybe stronger than before.
I'm so sorry for your loss. It's an awful journey to go through and hopefully he is at peace. I do have to say that looking at a person that has passed away is difficult. All your memories pour through and it is a memory of that person that we carry. Thank you for all your posts and may you find peace again.
Your words, "I have no regrets" will bring you so much comfort in the days, months, years ahead. I am sorry to hear of his passing but so greatful that it is over for him. It is what tempers my grief...that it is over for her. I hope it will for you too.
I was with my mom when she died so her dead body didn't seem so very different from her alive one..though her final hours were not very alive. Afterwards, I held her hand and watched it turn white inch by inch. I held her and kissed her goodbye and can look back and know it was a blessing to be able to do it. I hope you can look back on it too and see and feel the joy of being a part of his passing.
I wish you and your family peace in the days ahead. You have the strength to handle what is to come. The worst is behind him...revel in that.
I am sorry that you are going through this hard time, your stepdad would have been proud of you the way you have handle everything..I only hope that when the time comes for me to be in your shoes that I will be able to be as strong as you have been. Hugs to you and your family
Thanks everyone for your replies. It's still a busy time - all that has to be done after a person passes. His service is this Saturday. Today is one of those days that I REALLY want to stay in my pjs, with my dogs, and not get out of bed.
But - today I'm meeting with my pastor who will be doing the service, so that's kind of important And I'm just about out of dog food, so that's an errand I've GOT to do.
I really do apprectiate your responses, and Ken, it was nice to hear from you. It was a week ago yesterday since his passing, and I feel like I've been on a rollercoaster of emotion since then. Sometimes I'm okay, sometimes it hurts so much, sometimes I'm numb.........strange.
Cleaned out his room at the adult family home yesterday. I think that's why I feel so wiped out today. THAT was.......hard. Right now, it's coffee, the dogs, and then I'll get some things done this afternoon.
Love & hugs to all -
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