I started this thread a week ago - it seems more - because I felt that I needed some help to rationalise my feelings about a sudden unexpected death sparing the deceased from a protracted mental and physical decline. Many people to whom I have spoken have expressed agreement, but then on the other hand, those who disagree might not be happy about articulating an opposite viewpoint to me at a time they know is difficult for me.
My late wife and I were involved with a family, close neighbours, whose 51 year old son, wife, and brother died earlier this year after a several years-long struggle with an awful disease which slowly, gradually, inevitably destroyed his body and means of communication, yet left his intellect intact. It was an enormous trial for all of his family and friends, and let it be said that his death was felt by many to be a release.
I’m sure that we must all feel afraid of something like this happening, but far more likely than a solely physical decline is the spectre of mental decline, Alzheimer’s and dementia. I have looked at a recent UK Government statistical paper which shows that Alzheimer’s/dementia is the leading cause of death amongst females in this country by a considerable margin. My wife was starting to show some behaviours which I feared might be the very, very early signs of dementia. Mind you, the changes were so gradual and so small that perhaps I didn’t notice them as much as somebody who had not seen her for a while.
We had a family get-together in August for a family wedding, and our overseas clan (daughter, son-in-law and their two adult daughters) saw their Mum/Nanny for the first time in several months. Though nothing was said at the time, my daughter has now subsequently told me that she and her family had noticed changes, which seemed to them to be more pronounced than they seemed to me.
Let’s not go too deeply into the dreadfulness of dementia - the effects are too well known, and don’t need repeating. However, I do really think that her sudden loss now may really have saved her from something worse. I said as much in my tribute at her funeral, along with much else, and drew applause from a packed church, so it seems that others agree.
I haven’t noticed any references in this forum to loved ones who are succumbing/have succumbed to dementia, yet the statistics indicate that there should be many. Why is this, I wonder ? Those who love the sufferers need so much support for so long, yet it would seem they do not seek it here. Certainly not in the numbers that might be statistically expected.