Thursday, July 17, 2008

In the Car

Allow me some literary license to the title of this post, as I will be in the car later this afternoon and for much of tomorrow. Will be travelling in a van with MIL, FIL, SIL, and John Dear up to New York for the funeral of FIL's mother ("PGM" for Paternal Grandmother).

PGM had been struggling with severe dementia for at least the past 5 years, certainly longer than I've known JD. In April, she began refusing food, so the family made lots of preparations at that time. Then, she started getting better again. Earlier this week, her nurse said that she was doing well -- that night, PGM passed away in her sleep.

JD has been struggling with the fact that he really doesn't feel sad. He feels guilty for not being distraught in the way that he was when his mother's parents, who he was very close to, passed away. I've been trying to help him work through those feelings and relating my own feelings when my father's mother (in a nutshell, not a good person and also had severe dementia for the last 10 years of her life) finally passed. I didn't feel sad, although I felt for my father, who felt extremely close to his mother. Instead, I felt relief -- relief that this horrible person who had caused my family so much pain was gone. And I recognized that the person who died wasn't really my grandmother. She had been gone a long time already.

So, we'll all be driving up to New York in one van to pay our respects and visit with some family. Pray that we don't all kill each other.


Marie said...

I am sorry about your loss. It is natural to be closer to some family members more than others. I hope JD works through that and doesn't feel bad.

alison said...

I'm sorry about your and JD's loss. We just went through this with j's MGF (get it? :). He felt the same way, his granpda was an ass most of his life, and they were never close. It wasn't until 18 months or so when he started getting sick, did the family sort of rally around him. Which is nice in a pay-your-respects sort of way, but my brain doesn't work like that. Once someone is disrespectful to someone I love, I have a hard time forgiving them. (Even if the disrespecting came before I did). j was relieved that he wasn't in pain any longer, but still sad-ish. It's just a hard balance, life and death. Especially when you married into a family with its own quirks.

Lots of luck on the trip, I wouldn't ride downtown with my inlaws. Be safe. :)

Jen said...

I'm so sorry.

Good luck with the van trip. Deep breathing works pretty well for me when I want to kill my in-laws.

FunkyFrum said...

bring an ipod?

Meghan said...

Sorry for the loss. I must say that I felt the same way when my grandmother passed away 2 years ago. She hadn't really been my grandma for about 10 years. Her dementia scared her and she became a very cruel, very mean, and very confused woman. I grieved her loss long before she actually passed.

Hope you manage the car trip to NY. Books on tape can always be good. And good luck with it all

Jen said...

When somebody suffers from dementia, it feels like you've lost them a long time ago. In some ways death then feels like a relief rather than a pain. The emotions are tough to sort through, and I wish you all the best. And yes, let's at least hope you all come out of this road trip alive!

Io said...

Yeah, that's the weird thing about dementia - they die slowly through that before their body goes.
I'm sorry for our loss - and I hope you all survive the trip!

Tricia said...

I'm so sorry for you loss. And tell DH that no one gets to dictate his feeling and they are perfectly fine. I hope you all don't kill each other in the van. Have a safe trip.