Gireving began right after the taut anxiety and stress of waiting was over, once the hospital bed was delivered by Hospice to the time my husband took his last breath. Grieving in that strong manner ebbs and flows and leaves me exhausted, so tired I sleep as soon as my head hits whatever pillow it touches. I feel as if grieving has an effect on the digestive system as well. All I want to eat are carbohydrates and sweets.
This week I bask in the attention of my relatives, my friends and my community as you all physically and emotionally hold me and comfort me, send me cards and bring food, permitting me to just sit and allow others to care for me. A new expereince for sure, one that I resist until reminded that it's okay.
I am comforted as well by all the belongings, all the mementoes we brought back from our many trips, all of the things we shared from our lives. I am surrounded by wonderful memories, every one of which remind me of a funny story or a lesson or an adventure we shared.
My feelings, thoughts and reactions to the physical loss of my husband surprise me. I well up with tears as I remember how his hand felt in mine, how his shoulder touched mine, even as I know how much I mourned his loss and adjusted to life without him during the long nine years of his Alzheimer's disease.
With dementia the process after the death of the loved one seems reversed. We mourn the loss and adjust slowly to life without our spouse or parent before they actually physically stop living. But when they die, we grieve.