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My Aunt just passed away. She was 101 years old. Some members of the family are left with feelings of relief because for the last few years my aunt has had alzheimers and has been very difficult to take care of. Prior to the disease which robbed her of the memory of her loving family, she was a peaceful, loving soul and kind to everyone, it was hard to find a more loving woman. I fear that the family is at this time remembering the misery of the last few years and not the loving woman she used to be. Is this an expected response to the death of someone who has needed such difficult care?

I pray that as they go thru the stages of grieving that they will touch on the loving memories and find peace. Right now they are just exhausted and relieved. For my aunt, I pray that she is in peace now with our Lord God.

Last edited by Phyllis, NatAmEd; 05/26/08 02:50 AM.

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Phyllis Doyle Burns
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My own grandmother is like that. Over the next few years, she's treated life as one huge drama, with her as the star. It ranges from imagining a neighbor saying something bad about her to my father openly slandering her because of hate. She's making it all up in her mind and has caused us great grief. I wish for her to die sometimes, not for my sake, but for hers, so she can finally rest.

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Phyllis, I'm so sorry for your loss


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Originally Posted By: Bea Scott
My own grandmother is like that. Over the next few years, she's treated life as one huge drama, with her as the star. It ranges from imagining a neighbor saying something bad about her to my father openly slandering her because of hate. She's making it all up in her mind and has caused us great grief. I wish for her to die sometimes, not for my sake, but for hers, so she can finally rest.


My Aunt had alzheimers, which means she lost her memory, did not know her family, was frightened of the rest home and the people there and almost everything, because she no longer had the loving memories of her family. The family did everything they could to help her settle in the home and to care for her, but she no longer knew them and was confused. She is now at peace. I think the family is going to be ok soon. They understand what happened to her mind and are beginning to heal and remember the good memories when their mother was loving and kind and gentle. My aunt did not purposely act rudely or inconsiderate or selfish, she had an illness which robbed her of her memory, family, love, all that she knew. She was not difficult to care for, the disease was. Alzheimers is a cruel disease that deteriorates the mind.

I hope that some day, you will remember some loving memories and times with your grandmother.


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Thank you, Rosie. smile


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Phyllis Doyle Burns
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What a wonderful life overall, though!

Has the funeral already been had?

If not, you might set up a "memories table". Ask everyone who comes to bring their favorite photo of your aunt, and have a pretty tackboard there for people to attach them.

And instead of (or in addition to) a typical funeral, have everyone step forward with their picture and explain why it is their favorite - and what memory goes along with it. Then they add the picture to the board.

It will bring as many tears as laughter - but it will be the more healing kind, and it will allow people to remember your aunt as she lived and not as she died.


Last edited by Michelle_Launch; 06/01/08 09:30 AM.

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Phyllis, I'm so sorry for your loss.

My Grandmother died of Alzheimers 30 years ago. I can tell you from experience that the memories of the disease fade but the memories of the person live on.

I can also relate to your family's feelings of relief. I am now the sole caregiver for my own Mother who has severe Alzheimers. The person who was my Mother is gone, her body continues on; she is 92. She no longer recognizes me, she's incontinent and must be spoon fed each meal. I feel it would be a blessing for her to go to God and when she passes I will be relieved. I grieve now for my Mother because while she is physically present, she truly is gone. So, I'm sure your family has already grieved for the lost life, long before the body was done.

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Helen, you are so right about the disease and the person you once knew. Alzheimers takes the life's memories away as well as the personality, emotions, love and reasons for living. My Aunt's favorite grandson said, when she died, that "She is at peace now and no longer suffering."

This woman started her married life over 80 years ago, hauling water in a bucket from the pump a few hundred yards from her house, cooked in large pots in a huge stone fireplace, baked her breads in the same fireplace in the cubby ovens, hand washed all the laundry and hung it outside, tended her cows down in the gulch about a half hour walk from the house, raised her own chickens for poultry and eggs, grew all her own veggies and fruits, and raised 9 children and buried 3 of them before she died. She often was known to say that the children and her husband (their spirits) were waiting around for her to come home with them. The house was originally built by her husband's father and added on to as the family grew and a lot of family spirits inhabited the home.

Michelle, those are wonderful ideas you have for the funeral service. How delightful that would be!, to laugh over shared memories and begin the healing right away. The funeral was lovely (I did not attend because it was several states away). My cousin said it was very nice. They had made a DVD of Auntie's life, pictures of the family growing up, the farm (which is now a historical site, being over 120 year old), weddings, births - he is going to send me a copy of the DVD.


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What a wonderful community we have here! I am so touched by the honesty of Phyllis' grief, and the courage of her sharing. My heart overflows at the responses! You are all so womderful, and your suggestions are right on. Telling favorite stories helps re-focus. It's absolutely true that the memory of the difficulties will fade, while the memory of your Aunt lives on. 101 - wow! I would invite anyone dealing with this horrid disease to hop to the Bereavement page and read "Dying Twice - Alzheimers". BellaOnline ALERT: Raw URLs are not allowed in these forums for security reasons. Please use UBB code. If you don't know how to do UBB code just post here for help - we will help out!


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Phyllis, while I am truly sorry for your family's loss, I am so happy you had such a wonderful person in your family. This makes the disease which she suffered all the more horrid.

We have not had to face Alzheimers in our family, but my best friend recently lost her Father to it. Having been a part of her family for over 30 years, it was a loss for me as well.

We were not, and should not have been ashamed of the relief we experienced at his passing. I can only imagine the mental torture this disease exerts. I am happy he is at peace and in his full mind now.

If you truly love someone who has suffered long and hard with an illness, how could you not feel relief and actually be thankful their ordeal is finally over, and they are no longer in pain. This in no way diminishes the loss, or the grief we need to work through, once that relief fades.

I try to concentrate on being thankful a person was in my life for whatever amount of time, and to discern and preserve what this person taught me and to pass that on. This seems to help me in having a positive outlet for my grief.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


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Icp - I just now came across your post and want to thank you for you kind words.

It was a blessed relief, knowing that Auntie had passed on to a better place and her family was no longer in confused misery and suffering from the loss of their loving Mother and Grandmother long before she passed on. To them, she had been gone for a few years for she was no longer the same and knew them not.

We are all thankful that she was in our lives. By her loving ways and gentleness, she gave us much throughout her life.

Her family is healing and my Mother, her sister, is at peace now through knowing her sister is at peace.

I can remember from a very early age that Auntie was the most gentle of sweet ladies.

Thank you.


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Phyllis Doyle Burns
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