I am not a doctor. I am providing information based on experiences that my mom has with natural remedies. The purpose of this blog is to help folks to educate themselves. Use this information with your own discernment.

29 March 2011

My Trip Through The 5 Stages Of Grief

My family in 1968
visiting our Grandmother
Gardner State Mental Institution
When I first learned that my mom's condition was Lewy Bodies Dementia, I was in shock...

Denial; stage one of coping with grief.  

I began this blog when I was in my first stage of grief.  My husband suggested it would help me to cope.  It also stopped some of my complaining to him; the best way to destroy any friendship.

I wrote and wrote and wrote. 

I researched and looked for answers.  I found some, but never found the magic bullet that would cure my mom.  I was in total denial of her impending demise; it was only a matter of time before she expired.  I wouldn't allow myself to think about her dying.

I wrote more.

Caring for my mom became more difficult and my expectations caused me more misery than they helped.  I expected so much from my family and friends but I came up short.  Unrealistic expectations got the best of me.  I became angry with everyone, lashing out in horribly hurtful ways; I am so sorry for this behavior.

I was angry; stage two of grief.

Care Giver's, please take my advice.  You may be angry now with your family, but it won't last if you meet everyone half way.  We don't have any right to judge anyone or expect something from someone because of an ideal we hold dear to our hearts.

Looking back at my own experiences when I was fighting with my siblings, writing terrible blog posts that I'm sure hurt their feelings; it didn't serve me.  I didn't feel better.  Yes, it felt good to get it off my chest and lash out like a 4 year old, but once I calmed down, I felt really bad; totally not worth the price.

We search for peace, we pray, we beg God for help.  We are angry.  I became super angry and even questioned the point of life and if there really was a God.  Who is this God?  Why is all this shit happening to me?  Oh, poor me... pity party time.  No one came to my party, not even God.

God isn't external to me... I believe God lives inside of each of us, it's what keeps us all united as one.  We are created in the likeness of God, so in my opinion... we're all a spark of God.

Ok... so, I began to bargain with myself; the 3rd stage of grief.

"Maybe if Ma takes this supplement, it will cure her?"

"Maybe if Ma has Acupuncture, she'll be cured?"

"I'll create a hypnosis script for her, that will help."

"I'll do Reiki on her every day, that will surely cure her."

I asked myself all sorts of questions about things that I discovered through the power of Google.  I was bargaining with the Universe.

I prayed to Mother Mary for a miracle.

My cousins are back!
A miracle did happen, but it wasn't the miracle I was looking for; it was better.  My anger subsided and my siblings and my cousin came back into my life.  My loneliness was being lifted; I needed to hear their voices.

My big sisters and our mom
My sister, brother and Mom
I felt better being able to call them on the phone and talk.  I especially am grateful for the mending of my relationship with my cousin Maryann.

My older sisters, they always were my protector when I was a little girl; without them, I felt lost and scared.

 My brother, he started to come around; he took in our Aunt who couldn't live alone any longer.  He is now a Care Giver; I know his pains.

Every one was always here to help in the way that they could, not the way I wanted them to; each of my family members mourned the loss of our mother; I was too wrapped up in myself to see their pain.

I felt really bad about how things were in my life.  I became depressed.

Depression: the 4th stage of grieving.  

I didn't have thoughts of suicide, but I did think about how much better it would be if I just dropped dead.  I was freaking out over the fact that I crossed the line that I vowed to never cross; wiping my mother's ass.  I cried and became more and more depressed.  Everything bothered me... EVERYTHING.  The more upset and bothered I was, my thoughts became more troublesome.  I cried a lot.  I couldn't cope with the pressure of care giving and living with my Mother-in-law.

I reached out to my Spiritual Teacher, Prema Baba Swamiji.  I told him my story and how I just couldn't get myself out of the hole that I had found myself in.  He offered advice.

I began to do deep breathing exercises in order to calm myself.  I re-remembered how to change my life and that I hold the power within myself to overcome all trouble.  I re-remembered that I CAN CREATE MAGIC in my life through the power of my mind.

I changed my mind.  I am creating magic.

My mom was still pooping and peeing everywhere.  Crying was making me feel worse; I chose to dry up the tears and suck it up.  Instead, I bought a box of disposable rubber gloves, lots of paper towels and when a mess occurs, I clean it.

Acceptance, the final stage of grieving.

Today, I accept what's happening and magically peace is finding it's way back into my life.  There's nothing that I can do to change history, I can only focus on what I'm going to do right now that will make a difference in my happiness tomorrow.  I know that I control my happiness.

I hold the power to forgive and forget.  

It's up to me and you to forgive and forget, move on, step up and apologize to someone that we're feuding with even if we believe we are right.  Being right doesn't make you feel good when you are alone and right.

People matter...people in our lives makes us happy.

We need each other, especially our family; call them, forgive and forget.  You will feel like the weight of the world has been lifted.  There are still years of opportunities to make new memories with your family, memories that could help you overcome your own dementia someday.

Forgive, forget and move on, there's lots of life left for us Care Givers once our loved ones pass. 

Today, I feel free and my mom's still alive.  

I've gone through my grieving over my mom according to Dr. Kubler-Ross' theory.  In my opinion, her theory is a good one, I have moved through all phases.  Some folks don't go through all stages of grief; I did so I thought I'd write about my trip through the 5 stages of grief... I feel free.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD was a Swiss born Psychiatrist, she lived from 1926 - 2004.  Dr. Kubler-Ross, when she was doing her psychiatric residency in 1958 realized that the terminally ill needed different care.  She wrote a book in 1969, "On Death and Dying."  The book became a best seller with medical professionals learning the Kubler-Ross Model which outlined 5 stages of grief.


  1. Sue,

    I love this post!
    It makes my heart happy that you have some peace.
    I can feel the change of your attitude in your writing. Smiles for you
    {{{BIG HUGS}}}
    I think you are awesome!

  2. I espcially liked the post, "
    We search for peace, we pray, we beg God for help. We are angry. I became super angry and even questioned the point of life and if there really was a God. Who is this God? Why is all this shit happening to me? Oh, poor me... pity party time. No one came to my party, not even God." I feel that way too... I lost the love of my life of 35 years, my husband four months ago and no one has come to my party either... they just tell me it will be alright, just give it time! Well, Rusty was not an it and he was so very good to me for 35 years and I miss him so very much! Some days I just think I can't go on any longer! We did everything together and now I have no one except myself.. I am so very lonely! Yes, I have two grown kids but they haven't even come to my party because they really don't understand my feelings. I have never been alone... marrying at age 18. I just don't know if the life is worth living! I feel as if God has left me here to suffer for some reason, I just don't know. I didn't think I was that bad of a person! Rusty would always tell me before we went to sleep that "Jesus loved me!" I am having a hard time feeling the love...

  3. Anonymous, it really will be ok. My Grandmother died when I was 16. I loved her, she always made me feel good; she didn't speak English... I didn't speak Polish. I cried rivers when she died... I sobbed.

    My dad told me something that made sense and gave me comfort. He said, "Sue, energy can not be destroyed...ever. It transforms into something else. Bacci left her body but her essence, who she was, lives on forever... she will always be alive in your mind and heart because of your memories."

    If you can see an acupuncturist in your area, that will help your sadness....It helps me a lot.

    A Naturopath Doctor could recommend natural remedies to lift your depression.

    Get up, force yourself to go out and walk. See the signs your husband puts out for you to know he's near.

    I care... You are loved. My parents always said to us before bed, " Sleep with God."

  4. Susan, I can relate to some of what you've said here.. for very different reasons.
    I'm happy you've dealt with the realities of your situation, some fight it tooth and nail. Others live in denial.
    You are strong.

  5. Thanks Jamie... sometimes I am stronger than other times but in the big scheme of things, I'll make it.

  6. Wonderful post. As I watched my grandmother die of pancreatic cancer in 1993, I was a first year student in nursing school. During this time we were covering Death and Dying and the 5 stages of grief. It helped me tremendously....to know why I felt this way and that it was okay...as long as one doesn't get lost in one of the first 4 stages.

    I know your post will help many going through what you're experiencing right now.

    Grief isn't synonymous with death. We can grieve the living just as much.

    Glad you made it through

  7. Thank you for being part of this discussion Roschelle. I am glad I made it too.

    Now we just need a bed to open for my mom so that I can be physically free too!

  8. When will you post again ? Been looking forward to this !