Mourning the Living

A dear friend once said that to me… she was ‘Mourning the living’ – and I understood what she was saying. She was referring to her husband’s deteriorating condition due to his memory loss.

I knew what it meant because of my beautiful grandmother. In those days it was called Senile Dementia, and my grandmother suffered from it, eventually being hospitalized.

Mourning the living

It sounds a contradiction but it is not. Rather, it is a heart-wrenching ordeal. It is so painful to see the person – usually looking the same… my beloved grandmother – but she wasn’t there. I was someone who visited her and talked with her. I wonder if she knew I had been.

mourning lost memories, like books in a librarry

Where had she gone?

Sometimes she was agitated… perhaps trying to find those missing memories.

Where had the memories gone?

A long lifetime of experiences.

She had children, her husband had died, she lost her home, she saw her children grow and marry… she helped raise her grandchildren.

And they grew up too.

In the various stages of memory loss – at first there is some insight. The person knows they are forgetting more and more… perhaps guessing what is happening. I do not presume to even hazard a guess at what the ‘sufferer’ is feeling.

And the person mourning with the sufferer?

He or she is suffering too.


If you are unable to help physically, send a card, remember them in your prayers.


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