When You Don’t Know Your Own Pain

I’ve seen many people with many different types of dementia.   And no one is exactly the same on how it effects them.

I have yet to see a ‘good’ type of dementia.

Today I heard a new reference to dementia that made my heart hurt anew.

This gentleman has been robbed of almost everything because of dementia.  But for one thing.   He knows he hurts because something is missing.

Someone told me:

He doesn’t know what he’s upset about.  But he knows he’s upset about something.  He’s had a huge change.   He can feel it.  He knows it.  And he can’t define it.  He doesn’t know what’s lost.  But he hurts and doesn’t know why.

I can’t imagine the suffering.  The not being able to define it.  To feel horrible and not understand why.   He’s in a situation where everyone around him knows, understands, and wants to – but can’t explain it to him.  Explain it so he can process it and try to heal and acclimate to a new life, a new place.   No one can explain through the horribleness of dementia that he is no longer home and no longer with his spouse of sixty years.

We know why he hurts.

But he doesn’t.

He just hurts.

Dementia took everything away but his ability to hurt.

That is a wickedness that needs to be stopped.

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51 thoughts on “When You Don’t Know Your Own Pain

  1. It is an awful affliction but I wonder if they can also be happy without knowing what they’re happy about. Like, does it affect just the ability to remember but not the actual emotions. Do you know?

    • Great question Marissa. I have seen “happy” folks with dementia. Who probably couldn’t have told me why they were happy, they just were. And I would think that is a blessing in some regard. I am not an expert but I could definitely write a ton about the “different” ways I’ve seen dementia in people.

  2. reocochran says:

    This was very sad. I feel blessed my Mom recognizes family. She sometimes doesn’t know friends she has met the past 4 years. I like asking her about the past. So far, she remembers Dad died and she says she talks daily to him.
    “Still Alice” the book (Alzheimer’s) and film is good with Julianne Moore as Alice. I also like the movie with Julie Christy, “Away from Her.” I am not sure if dementia or Alzheimer’s. I watch to learn from visual since blogging takes do much reading time up. Colleen, have a good rest of the week!

    • Initially I wanted to see “Still Alice” but I can’t make myself watch it Robin. I see so much of it that I can’t make myself watch this… Like the hoarding tv show, I could not stomach the idea of watching it. I have seen it, and the suffering people live with that seems to go hand/hand with hoarding. So it’s along those lines I can’t watch these shows.

      Like you, I think it’s a blessing to retain the life time of memories.

  3. My mother just lost her best friend of 58 years to a dementia spiral. This after having lost a twin brother and her mother to Alzheimer’s. So much wickedness and hurt, for all involved and affected. Let’s continue to pray and hope that science and medicine can soon find ways to alleviate it.

    • I will pray and hope with you Eric. It’s horrible and there aren’t enough adjectives to describe it. I’ve used an awful lot of them.

      (By the way, for some reason I didn’t think you were blogging but I followed your name back to your blog. So I’m following you again. 🙂

  4. Gibber says:

    Oh my gosh I don’t have words. Just so very sad.

  5. So sad, it makes me want to cry. I hope he passes through these painful place quickly.

  6. ksbeth says:

    dementia is a demanding and cruel mistress –

  7. Victo Dolore says:

    Amen. I hurt for all of them, too.

  8. Ann Koplow says:

    Your exquisite writing made me feel his pain and yours.

  9. Dementia is cruel and devastating. I can’t imagine the hurt. ❤ ❤ ❤

  10. Mustang.Koji says:

    Wonderful insight once again… Maybe these thoughts can also become the theme of another line of books…

  11. That is so very sad. To emotionally hurt and not know why. That does seem very wicked.

  12. russtowne says:

    That must be one of the worst kinds of feeling lost. May the man soon experience peace at last.

  13. markbialczak says:

    So awful, MBC. The Catch-22 of wickedness.

  14. That’s so sad Colleen. 😦
    Diana xo

  15. niaaeryn says:

    It is terrible. My grandmother has it, and it is progressively getting worse. I try to talk to her but now when I call there are times it is clear I am doing more harm than good. Still I gamble for the good days. This disease sucks…it sucks balls big time. Sorry if that is childish but really, I hate it that much. I hope science figures something soon.

  16. “Dementia took everything away but his ability to hurt.” That is so poignant and so sad. It also shows what great understanding you have for the situation.

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