Nobody could possibly have prepared me for what it would be like when my Mom died. I'm barely sure even I can describe it, seeing as how I've lost my mind and all.
What I can tell you is what it feels like. It seems to boil down to, "I've completely lost my mind and that's perfectly normal." Typically said to me by someone with a piteous tone and a pat on the head; and I'm grateful as I can be for the tone and the pat!
The word that keeps running through my head is torpor ("a state of motor and mental inactivity with a partial suspension of sensibility") with a feeling of being completely lost. Definitely shaken AND stirred.
In the 70's there was an expression for when you smoked pot and were a little high . . . "maintain" . . . as in to maintain the appearance of being perfectly "normal" when you walked past your parents in the living room when you were stoned off your rocker, red-eyed and giggling.
In the aftermath of my Mom's death (today in fact is 2 weeks to the day), I occasionally catch myself thinking I'm just fine and then go and do something completely "off" . . . I think I'm "maintaining" but instead, it's really like wearing those feetie pajamas with the back door hanging open and everybody can see it but me.
For instance, it took me 5 separate trips from her house to the car the day she died . . . the new locks didn't work or worked too well and I was locked inside the house. Then I remembered I could simply go out the sliding glass door. I'M A GENIUS! Got to the car. No purse. Tromp back up the little walkway and around back, grab purse and head back out to car. Nope, no car keys . . . and so it went. It wasn't until the third trip I realize that it might - just maybe - have something remotely to do with my state of mind.
Or just today when I thought I left my apartment perfectly groomed and caught sight of myself in just a couple of hours later in the ladies' room mirror at my office. My Mom used to describe this particular look as "ready to haunt houses."
Here I will share what I learned and am continuing to learn as my Mom's Alzheimer's finally progressed, her week in hospice, making funeral arrangements as an only child. I will also share the joy, the humor (it's essential to avoid the booby hatch!) - all of it.