Grief: Where We Begin and End

Grief can hit us the moment we realize a loved one has #dementia. We understand quickly that we’re losing a bit of them everyday. It’s natural to feel sadness as we note these changes. But as #caregivers, it’s our job to find the emotional resources needed to maintain stability. This becomes more difficult when daily losses begin to multiply.

Last year grief got the best of me. My mom passed away in June and I stopped writing here. Each time I tried to write, I felt like I had no energy or insight. After many months, my equilibrium is finally returning. Last week I published some work for the first time this year. The writing process fueled me like strong, delicious coffee. It helped me focus and concentrate. The product of this effort is a review essay that appeared in #CleaverMagazine.

grief essay in Cleaver Magazine

My work is a review of the book Room for Grace, by Daniel and Maureen Kenner, and a meditation on grief. I hesitated when I was first asked to write about this book. It describes the experience of a family that loses two parents within a few months. One parent has #dementia and the other has #cancer. Being a caregiver for someone with dementia is hard enough when you’re healthy. Doing it while fighting cancer must be like climbing Everest.

Other People’s Grief

As I read more about the Kenner family, it became clear that their losses were much greater than my own. While reflecting on their fate, I felt my perspective change. I was buoyed up by a rush of compassion. My own grief began to recede. This experience of transforming the negative into the positive is something I did every day as a caregiver, but I had forgotten all about that. Looking back I realize how much I gained from a role I resisted from the very beginning. Perhaps the book will help you gain perspective on your own suffering. Let me know your thoughts if you decide to read it.

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