How do you grieve someone that's not passed?
Ten years ago, my stepmom suffered a brain aneurysm at home. While at the hospital (during brain surgery to repair the first one) she had a second. She physically survived but never recovered any cognitive ability. She has lay in a hospital bed at home, being cared for by family for the last nine and half years. I am currently one of her caretakers.
Last night, I had a vivid dream about her. I dreamt that she sat up and began talking. She recovered, just like that. Then I woke up. Even though we have known since bringing her home that she will never recover, we have cared for her without grieving her loss.
She was a brilliant woman and was 50 years old when she was taken by this. She just turned 60 last week. She had gone back to get her Master's Degree in Psychology and graduated when she was 48. She was a Marriage & Family therapist and was always there for me. I miss her very much and still talk to her like she can understand me. We don't know if she hears or understands anything. She's in a persistent vegetative state. She isn't in a coma or on a respirator (no life support) but breathes through a trach and is fed through a tube.
she may live this way for the next ten or twenty years... we just don't know. But in the meantime, we aren't really able to grieve for her but then again, we do. It's hard to explain because there is no end in sight and when someone passes, you can say goodbye and hold onto their memory. But I care for her on a daily basis and her body is there, so I deal with the physical pain she endures, but her ability to communicate or respond is gone.
any ideas on how to cope?