My dad was diagnosed with dementia about 7 years ago. He has since progressed to the point of almost around the clock care. I am an only child and my mother passed away several years ago. I have been lucky enough to be able to work from home and take care of my dad. I do get a lot of help from my husband and we have nurses that stop by a couple of times a week. I chose to keep dad at home because I didn’t want him to pass away alone in a strange place.
Recently I have found myself, not hoping but kind of anticipating his death. When I go to check on him, I always wonder if this will be the time that I find him dead. And I’m really questioning myself because when I have these thoughts of him passing, I don’t get a sense of sadness but a sense of relief. Am I a bad person for feeling this way?
Please do not think for a second that you are a bad person for having these thoughts. A bad person would not be providing around the clock care for their father in his final stage of life.
I think these thoughts are very natural for a lot of people in your position. People just tend not to openly express them to others for fear of looking like a bad person.
The truth is that dementia takes away the person you once knew and leaves almost a shell in their place. You have probably mourned for your father with each progression of the disease and seeing him now is like looking at a ghost of a man you once knew. In other words, your emotional attachment has lessened as you have been grieving this loss for quite some time.
Even with the help I would also say you are exhausted both physically and mentally and it is not a surprise that the thought of not having to continue the routine brings you a feeling of relief.
In the end don’t carry guilt for a feeling that is natural and if you can, talk with your husband about it. Him being there to help with your father shows that he is there to support you. Let him support you and help you sort through your feelings during this difficult time in your life.
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