Maureen Murphy

Both my parents had dementia – my mother died many years ago with Alzheimer’s and my father (who left us in 2010 at age 94) had dementia. My chances of living with some kind of dementia are very high. I am especially afraid of Alzheimer’s – the stages of it are terrifying – especially the tendencies towards paranoia, aggression and violence. I watched my sweet gentle mother as she progressed through these stages and disappeared inside herself. Years later, my father lost many memories and did not know what day it was. As I move through my sixties, many parents of people my age have been lost to dementia. Normal I think, but now people younger than I am are in the process of disappearing from us. What is going on? I am in my sixties now and have watched my friends struggle with their parents’ dementia. Even more scary is the fact that people in their fifties and sixties are being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. These people are disappearing into the fog that is the disease and leaving their families to cope with loneliness, guilt, grief, sadness and even frustration. How do you express grief for someone who is still alive?


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