When the Heart Takes Over for the Mind

June 7th, 2013 By: Betty Long

I was talking with a friend who recently lost her 85 y/o dad to cancer and she was sharing how his services were and how her mom, who herself is dealing with dementia, has been handling her husband's death.

At one point in our conversation, she said, "It's amazing to me to see what happens when the heart takes over for the mind."  I was particularly touched by her comment and we talked a little more about it.  She shared more anecdotes of her mom's journey in the last few weeks, when dad was on hospice and "being dad, was planning things." And when mom, unable to articulate her feelings while her husband lie in his hospital bed, appeared to be agitated and just a little bit out of sorts.  But she sat with him at his bedside, holding his hand and talking to him.

And finally when, during the funeral services, mom sat and greeted guests by saying "I'm sorry if I should remember your name, but thank you for coming."  Though her mind, and memory, was not able to help her connect one on one with each person, her genuineness and appreciation certainly did.

I am certainly glad for her and for her children and their families that she was able to participate in her husband's services in such a moving way.  As I said to my friend, "Your dad and your mom both set beautiful examples for you and their grandkids of how to deal with a very difficult situation.  He in his own way and her in hers.  I'm glad that you were able to experience that."

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