I lost my Dad sixteen years ago. I know what it is like to lose a loved one.
What's odd, now, is being in a place where I'm grieving for people I've lost, but they're still here. I feel like my loss in incomplete. I cannot fully grieve.
What I get, from time to time, is moments when I forget. I think the people they once were will be there. But they won't. They're gone.
My Mom began having strokes a year ago July. Little by little, the intellectual, on-top-of-it genealogical researcher and author has slipped away. I haven't seen her in about nine or ten months. I see someone who looks like her. She smiles when I visit and, unlike with my siblings and others, she remembers my name. She's not my Mom, but she is.
My Mother-in-Law is steadily sliding into Alzheimer's. This began about six months ago. The nice, but sometimes irritating, lady who was friendly with everyone, including total strangers, is gone. She seems to be always angry now. She yells. She accuses. And she's dangerous. We've removed all the knobs from her stove and oven. We've hidden her toaster oven. You can imagine why.
This is short because it is extremely painful. I admit it. My sense of "someday, she'll pass away" was always quick, even sudden. It was going to hurt, not ache.