My mom received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis over half a decade ago.
I accepted her diagnosis years after that date.
I grieved the loss of her personality within the last two years.
Grieving the living is no small task.
Humans love humans based on many reasons but we filter someone through their personality. My mom was a fiery, loving, kind-hearted German-Romanian woman who emigrated to the United States with her family when she was five years old. She was tough sometimes but warm, compassionate and caring. Mom was hysterically funny; at times on purpose, other times, through unintentional quips.
I write “was” not because we shared these experiences decades ago but because my mom’s personality vanished slowly, steadily but surely as the disease took hold of her mind and body. Passionate and purposeful turned into listless and lifeless.
Grieving the living is painful. Why grieve someone who has not passed on? Maybe you live in denial. Perhaps you deluded yourself into believing someone can make a comeback from a terminal illness. I felt embarrassed to grieve my mom considering my mom had not passed on but realized we do not grieve bodies, but personalities. We grieve the loss of energy, the loss of zest, the loss of what makes a person that person. We grieve passion and crying, screaming and cursing, tears and smiles.
People do an excellent job teaching how to grieve loved ones since departed to the ethers. Few explain how to grieve a person still alive. @RyanBiddulph (Click to Tweet!)
Properly feeling your fear and pain concerning someone stricken by a terminal illness frees you from the heavy anchors of regret, anger, rage and a general sense of sadness and depression holding you down and preventing you from living your dreams.
Accept the inevitable: your loved one will pass on from the terminal disease. Embrace the worsening nature of the condition. Hug the fact that some illnesses dissolve the personality of an individual; said personality never returns.
Any semblance of mom’s energetic, fiery personality vanished entirely two years ago. Crying through this period helped clear the fear-pain plaguing me for years. Be with any emotions arising during grieving sessions, from embarrassment, shame, rage, anger and a blanket sense of sadness that may run through your being for a while. Purge the fear to get clear. Let go heavy judgment, blame and the powerless feeling suffered by any human who observes a loved one morph into a shadow of their former self through years of suffering.
I actually feel okay about her illness because I accepted closure. Relief washed over me because I knew her energy, her quirks and her humor would never return.
Grieving the living helps you be alive. Life does not go on for people who grieve living loved ones; life grows on, into fascinating, fun and enjoyable experiences. You follow your dreams through the miraculous joint powers of genuine grieving and full acceptance.
I feel sad about my mom but accept that her soul chose this journey. You have no idea why spirit chooses to have specific experiences in human bodies, nor is it your job to figure out why.
All you can do is listen to your heart and know everything happens to reveal who you really are to yourself.
Ryan Biddulph is a blogger, author and world traveler who’s been featured on Richard Branson’s Virgin Blog, Forbes, Fox News, Entrepreneur, Positively Positive, Life Hack, John Chow Dot Com and Neil Patel Dot Com. He has written and self-published 126 bite-sized eBooks on Amazon. Ryan can help you build a successful blog at Blogging From Paradise.
Image courtesy of Milan Popovic.