Living with Constant Unknowns and Ambiguous Loss

By Timothy Hudson: For More Info, Go Here…

As caring humans, we want to solve problems. Fix things. Fight. Cure. Why wouldn’t we?

As a result of this innate need to fix things, to make progress, to help someone heal — we don’t deal well with unknowns. We can’t fix what we can’t nail down.

The variability of Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is nothing if not a relentless creator of ambiguity. We can’t know whether we’re coming or going, what will happen next or what crisis will next arise. Is our loved one “with us” today, or “absent, but still here?” Moods change, abilities, speech, comprehension, body functioning and mobility all change — and in many cases in ways we that cannot predict, because of the variability of the condition.

Our loved ones may seem to be the living embodiment of ambiguity. They’re here and gone. Thinking clearly, and then confused. Eloquent, now gibbering. Walking fine, then unable to rise from a chair.

Again, as caring humans, we don’t like ambiguity. Ambiguity can’t be “fixed.” Understandably, we are especially ill-equipped to deal with variation, vacillation, and unpredictability: hallmark symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia.

Any type of dementia brings a great deal of ambiguity and unfathomable loss, both for the person with dementia and for the care partner. Great losses like these typically result in grief, but this grief is not typical since there is no “departure.”

Here’s a great 50-minute podcast by Dr. Boss. She presents a compelling case for acceptance, with ideas on how to move towards it, and speaks broadly about a range of issues from the lack of “closure” in grief, complex grief, and living with unanswered questions.

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