An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

End of Life

It breaks my heart to call my aunt each evening. She suffered a massive stroke last summer which left her blind and with rapidly increasing dementia. I call because I don’t live close enough to visit often. Bringing up memories from 50 years ago usually calms her. Her only son lives in another state, and her doctors recommended against moving her. But the calls are painful. As her dementia increases, she often hallucinates, doesn’t know where she is, fights caregivers, insists she’s being kept a prisoner.

And she is in prison—trapped inside an aged body with a damaged brain—a brain that cannot process signals from her eyes—a brain that creates a dream fantasy world for her.

I mourn for my aunt—she never wanted to be a burden. I mourn for my cousin who has lost his mother—although her heart still beats. And I mourn for myself—seeing my own future.

Comments on: "End of Life" (4)

  1. I heard a program the other day, (NPR, of course) on physics, and how timelessness works, that at once we live in the moment, but at the same time we live in all our moments. I stopped mourning, not because I no longer feel loss, but because it’s only a moment.

  2. This is such a hard thing. My dad has recently begun showing signs of age related ( alhough he’s quite young) memory problems that have caused my step mother a lot of stress. While he’s living more and more in the past, she. Spends more and more time worrying about the future.

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