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Hello everyone, you may not remember me, but many of you helped me when I was dealing with the loss of my dearly beloved Mother who left us on April 3, 2019. My absence is partially due to severe issues with my back and legs, but mostly due to the dynamics that have evolved in Mom's absence. She made it all seem easy to juggle the finances, taking care of Dad and maintaining contact with her siblings. I'm back home with Dad who - at the age of 88 - is showing early signs of dementia. It's very difficult to say how far along he is because he is a very, very light sleeper, worry-wart and Pepsi drinker. Add the shock of his beloved and it's easy for me to see how he realizes just how dependent he was on Mom.

Their's was a typical 1950's marriage where the wife did the wife things and the husband did the husband things. But I can tell that Dad feels regretful for never showing any interest in the finances because he finds the simplest aspects of banking hard to comprehend. I admit he can be aggravating when he drives you in circles as you try to explain how the simplest things work. Then you have to assure him in the face of the realization that he doesn't know what he doesn't know. My very capable sibling is handling everything that Mom didn't get to finish and as above board as he can be, Dad isn't comfortable with anyone handling the estate. He's shown signs of paranoia and anger even though myself and another sibling assure him that everything is being done to put every possible penny into HIS name. I've gone as far as establishing online access to his account to show him how it's growing, but to be honest, I don't think it makes him feel any better.

Neither of us children need their money. My younger brother is the most successful of us three and is set for life. I have about a third of his total worth and although I may not retire comfortably, I'm happy with what I need and luxury isn't part of my character. The difference between he and I is that he has physical assets and very little financial investments whereas my eventual worth is invested in stable-growth financial ventures. Our youngest sibling is somewhat financially insecure but both of us men will never let her want for any necessity. Knowing this means nothing to Dad as his bewilderment at Mom passing away in tandem with some memory loss and confusion makes an already-ornery man a more difficult one to keep reassured. But we're dealing with it one day at a time.

Meanwhile, my grieving process has been an interesting one. I don't want to get over her loss if it means forgetting about her. I want to face the pains of losing the woman I loved above all others. That's why it seems odd to me that on one hand, I can process the simple fact that she's gone, yet simultaneously wrestle with the disbelief that strikes me once in a while. Has anyone else out there gone through the same complexity?


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I assure you, you will never forget her nor stop loving her, the "missing them" part continues even when we feel we've adjusted to the changes it means for our lives.  But it hasn't been very long in the scheme of things.  We all process our grief in our own way and with unique timelines.

Grief hits us in a myriad of ways, we can have conflicting feelings at the same time, all of them valid.  We can have ups and downs like a rollercoaster ride.  Some continue functionally, without tears and then a year later get hit and wonder what struck them!  It's different for all of us.  Our own resilience is key and that is something we can work on.

It sounds like your challenge right now is your dad, helping him to become self-sufficient.  I was the one to handle the finances but tried to keep my husband in the loop, whether he wanted to or not, in the event I should die...but alas it was him that died.

Do keep in mind that "grief brain" or "brain fog" as it's often called, is common, as is lack of ability to focus.  Losing a spouse is a whopper!  It affects every aspect of your life!  It's shocking and daunting, it can keep you from sleep, people lose interest in formerly enjoyable activities, sometimes don't care if they eat, they can lose interest in life itself.  Anything you can do to engage your dad with life is good, but do be understanding if he's just not up to it yet.


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15 hours ago, SonofASA said:

his bewilderment at Mom passing away in tandem with some memory loss and confusion makes an already-ornery man a more difficult one to keep reassured.

In addition to the articles Kay has recommended, you may find this one helpful as well: Caregiving and Grief in Alzheimer's and Dementia: Suggested Resources. Although your dad may not have been diagnosed with either of these conditions, it seems as if he is showing signs of aging, which of course may be aggravated by the death of his wife. The article includes several links that are related to eldercare in general.

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