Monday, June 17, 2024

Blog Post 118. Is it the last?

I am not even sure where to begin with this blog post.  In case you have not already heard the news, our journey is over.  Pam, my wife of 52 years (minus two days) has lost her battle with Lewy Body Dementia.  Our suffering has ended and she is at peace.  Many will follow that thought with questions like "How are YOU doing?"  The answer is pretty simple and that is I am doing fine.  At times I have expressed some pretty raw emotions through this blog.  Right now I just don't have any of those.  Our daughters and grandsons have been tremendously supportive.  I have received many hugs in the past 24 hours and every one of them has made me feel better.  

Am I going to cry and grieve over this loss?  Of course I am.  I will probably break out in tears at the strangest of times, as thoughts rush to my consciousness, of some event or comment Pam had made.  But overall, much of  the grieving has been done over last three years.   So I am not feeling a flood of emotions right now.  The most important thing for me right now is to make sure that our daughters and grandsons have their needs met.  Each of us grieves differently.  Some grieve outwardly, while others need to internalize the loss.  We have a Celebration of Life to organize, not to mention the resolution of the remains.  And then there is the walk-in closet loaded with clothing and footwear to deal with.  So there are important activities that require focus to keep the mind busy.

As I sit here in the wee hours of the morning after, I do have a couple of thoughts to express.   The first is that I am so grateful that Pam's suffering is over.  She might not have even understood what that suffering was, but I did.  It might not have been suffering to her because of her damaged brain, but I knew.  And it is over!  The other thing that I am grateful for is what I did not get.  Dementia patients often exhibit a range of behaviors that make being the caregiver very difficult.  Some patients get aggressive and confrontational.  While others suffer delusions about those around them.  Many dementia patients lose their ability to recognize those around them.  Pam did not exhibit any of these to a large degree.  The absence of many of those issues made the ability to keep her home possible.  I was blessed that these behaviors did not rear their ugly head.

So what is next?  Pam had expressed the desire to be cremated and we will honor that desire.  This will be followed by a burial at sea.  This is what was done with her mother (an event that I affectionately refer to as "throw your mother-in-law overboard" weekend).  The urn is made of salt and begins dissolving a short time after going into the water.  This will be immediate family, including any of Pam's five sisters that wish to join us.   We have not yet set a date.  We have the mandatory state hold of 48 hours, to complete the payment, and the paperwork to get through.  More immediate is the Celebration of Life.  This will be an "Open House"- style gathering in mid-July.  Meaning that there won't be a ceremony of any kind, just a window of opportunity for people to come and share their stories and remembrances of Pam with friends and family.  There will be food and beverages to encourage people to stay and share their thoughts.  There will be a slide show of photos of Pam's life set to some of her favorite music.  We will also have a number of enlarged pictures around the room as places to gather and reminisce.  People can come and go as they need to, but still pay homage to Pam's life and accomplishments and meet her sisters, daughters and grandsons.

The biggest question on my mind..... is this the last blog entry?  There have been almost 120 blog entries published since late 2019.  We started as a travel blog to document our (planned) two-year adventure of seeing much of this great country.  It morphed to a dementia blog after Pam's diagnosis.  Now what?  I have been encouraged by almost everyone to keep writing.  Pick your passion, they say.  I just don't know.

And I ask that you indulge me just one last time..... I am going to include some of my very favorite photos of Pam.  The last one, not on my favorites list, just screams Pam all the way.  Enjoy.


Your pain is over, but ours has just begun.  

We will shed many tears before we are together again.  

In the mean time, I promise not to peek.


  1. I am so very sorry for your loss.

  2. Beautiful Tribute Bruce

  3. Even now you are thinking of others. I've been amazed how well you've captured in this journey in words.

  4. The journey continues. Keep writing. Great pictures of Pam, you and your family!

  5. Bruce, I’m sure when you began this blog, never in your wildest dreams did you imagine it would take the turn it did. You have been incredibly open and honest as you shared the roller coaster of emotions you have experienced. Your dignity and devotion to Pam is a gentle reminder that truly love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” We are here for you in the days and months ahead.

  6. Cuz, as I read this entry on your blog, I was inspired to go back and reread some of your earliest entries. This phrase from one of the first struck me - "But the whole point of this adventure is to take control of life's journey. So we are putting the emotion behind us and focusing on the future." This was not the journey you chose or wanted, but you have traveled it with courage and dignity. Much respect

    Your journey continues . . .

    Love from the Left Coast.

  7. Replies
    1. Bruce, you question if this is your last blog. I suspect it has been good for you; it has been good for your fellow travelers in the caregiver community. My suggestion, Let the spirit move you to write or not. You may be inspired to document your next Hellcat, who knows? However you are moved, your sharing of the journey with Pam has let so many others know they are not alone in their caregiver challenges, and all are the better for it.

  8. I know exactly what you’re u are feeling, brother. You’re in my thoughts. Bob