I was very, very close to my Nan, she inspired my career choice, was always loving, supportive and selfless.My Nan passed away at age 89 in the beginning of February, after a ten year battle with Alzheimer's. I tend to believe I've been grieving the loss for many years before she passed away, because much of her was gone. Her loss of memory and physical strength was gradual, and very painful for my family. Specifically, she went from living in our "In Law's Suite", to moving in to an assisted living, to a Nursing Home. As a teenager, I worked in the Assisted Living she lived in as a Nurse's Assistant. I now have become a Registered Nurse, working with geriatric psych patients, though I would say that my primary interest and passion is working with individuals with Alzheimer's and other Dementias, because of her.
Probably 6 years ago is when she no longer recognized anyone in our family. She would still have some level of cognition in the years following, at times talking about family members or situations in her life. She would always sing or say prayers to herself. Approximately 6-9 months before she passed away, she could no longer speak or walk. She was placed on Hospice in the last month of her life, and my parents, siblings and I were able to be there in her room during her last moments of life. While I always assumed I would feel some level of relief from her passing, because of the suffering she went through for so long, I was really shocked by how I actually felt.
My heart was shattered, and I was all consumed with anger. I know the stages of grief very well, and I understand that this is a process. I need to figure out how to better cope with her loss.
I frequently think of different situations where I wish she was still here, and was the Nan we used to have. One example I think of a lot is that when I meet the man I'm going to marry, She won't be able to meet him. More specifically, the guy won't be able to meet her- and see how amazing and wonderful she was. I miss going to see her many times a week and just being able to hold her hand. Even at the end of her life, when she couldn't talk, I felt such comfort from just being able to sit with her, talk about what was going on with my life and my family's life,and told her how much we missed and loved her. While it was torture knowning that everytime I left her, she would never be better then she was on that day, there was still comfort in being in her presence.
Sometimes I just think about her advice and how I wish that I could talk to her now, as an adult. I know she would have such good life lessons for me. Sometimes I just cry when I think about her.
Now the anger aspect- I feel so angry that she had to go through this, that my family had to go through this, that my friends have Grandparents that are still alive and are able to spend time with them and ask them questions. I'm angry that I don't understand why God did this to her and my family. I'm angry that she wasn't able to be aware of all of the success and joy and happy times that my family has had in the past years. While we would always visit and talk to her about what was going on-- I wish she would have been able to really experience it.
I really miss her. I want to cope in a way that honors her, but I also feel like moving on is what she would have wanted for our family. Any advice?