Grief is the expected response to a loved one’s death. We expect to mourn, and we receive comfort from others. But in the context of a dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease, the loss is not as clear cut. Your loved one is "here but not here." And you do not receive the same support or acknowledgment for the very real losses of
- the relationship as you’ve known it;
- shared conversation and pastimes;
- predictability in your everyday life;
- options for your future, and theirs.
These types of losses are felt daily, like little deaths. They generate feelings of grief, but there is no closure for you and no public validation. Grief of this nature is confusing. As such, it is sometimes referred to as "ambiguous loss."
Try these strategies for living with ambiguity and grief...