Goodbye Miss D


My neighbor, Miss D died last night. She had a stroke at home a few days earlier. Her home aide and nephew were with her. I am so grateful this did not happen to her when she was all alone two years ago living with dementia.

Life can really change in an instant. Mine changed the beginning of this year as my husband and I became caregivers for my 91 year-old mother-in-law also with dementia. We sublet our apartment and moved in with mom, to keep her in the home she knew, for as long as possible. This meant I would not see Miss D regularly as I did every week. Now the visits were only two days a month when we were back in the city on our days off when other family could care for mom. Miss D was our biggest supporter for the decision my husband and I made. She missed me not visiting and wished we could move mom into the city and live in our apartment. I told her when our allowed sublet is up in two years we will.

That’s so far away. You’ll forget about me.

Miss D is always with me. Her dementia was not as advanced as mom’s, but I learned to really care for people with dementia through my experience with Miss D – to have patience, go with the moment no matter where it leads, gain trust and show lots of love through touch.

I will never forget Miss D.


13 thoughts on “Goodbye Miss D

  1. My older brother and his wife were the caretakers for our mom as her dementia grew worse. It was always hard for me to see her because, living out of state, I was able to make it home only a couple of times per year at best. Your line above about going with the moment no matter where it leads is something I wish I knew “then.” Since I only saw my mom sporadically, each time was a culture shock for me because each time she was worse. When it came to the point where she didn’t know who I was, thinking I was just some nice, young man, that is when it hit home that this lady was NOT the mom I grew up with. Looking back, I could very easily feel guilty about not seeing her more, but I am happy with the times I DID get to see her and will always cherish those.

    I am quite sure Miss D cherished you and the times she spent with you, even as she became worse. I have enjoyed following this journey you took because I learned so much from reading your posts. They helped me to understand what my brother may have gone through, and helped me to understand things in general.

    Thank you so much for your honest writing and your forthrightness. IT is refreshing and I am truly blessed to having been able to read along during your journey. I wish you and your husband nothing but the best.

    • Michael, I think this is the nicest reply I’ve ever received on my blog. Thank you for taking the time to read my posts. I’m so glad I could reach you with my experience with Miss D – and for you to relate it to your own experience with your mother.

  2. Oh, Nancy thank you for letting us know about Miss D. I feel I’ve lost someone I used to know. It is good to know her nephew was with her at the end. I am sure you will never forget her and what you learned through your friendship and care of her. You must have made a huge difference in her life when you stepped in to help out.
    I hope things are going okay with your new caring role.

    • You have always been so caring and understanding of my special friendship to Miss D, Mary. Thank you.

      I hope your life is moving ahead without the Goldfish and you are taking time out for yourself. My husband and I are very happy being caregivers together. It’s made a huge difference in our lives now being together everyday and especially for this special time we have with mom.

      • Life is still very strange without the Goldfish but we are moving on. Life has been pretty busy lately, which is why my blog has been neglected but I am determined to get back to it. I am so pleased you and your husband are happy being caregivers together. I was very lucky my husband was hugely supportive in helping me care for dad. You are so right – it is a special time. I know it was exhausting at the time and I was constantly worried I wasn’t doing what was best or not getting things right but now we have some very special memories to look back on. Do keep in touch.

      • I do feel exhausted because I worry, too about doing what’s best and we all learn as we go. There’s no manual for this kind of care. I’ll keep in touch and if I start a new blog, I’ll find you and let you know it’s me.

      • A manual would be helpful. But then, I guess it’s impossible to write one which covers everything. People who have dementia don’t all behave the same – like babies not doing what the baby books say they do!

    • Hi Ashish, I’ve been thinking a lot about you and Nepal since the earthquake. I do hope you and your family are okay. I know you are so caring about all of the Nepal elderly affected by this disaster.

  3. I’m so sorry I missed this post, but as you read my most recent blog post, I have been in caregiver crisis mode this month. Caregiving certainly teaches us a lot about ourselves and the world around us, both good and bad, but we emerge with an enlightened perspective.

    Miss D was a special lady, thank you for sharing her story.

    • It seems more of us blogging about dementia and caring for a loved one have lost someone dear this year. I knew you were in crisis mode and completely understand your focus on your mom. As hard as it is, it’s a very special time to be present with them. Thank you for following Miss D’s story.

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