Losing a loved one from Alzheimer’s Disease during the coronavirus pandemic

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Losing a loved one from Alzheimer’s Disease: an illustration of a woman staring into a pink pool of water which is the shape of a heart.

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Wendy HolcombePicnic With Ants

Losing a loved one from Alzheimer’s Disease during the coronavirus pandemic

Wendy Holcombe’s beautiful reflection on the death of her mother-in-law from Alzheimer’s Disease during the pandemic.

My mother in law passed away night before last. When you hear about people dying right now, you think about The Virus, but there is a lot of death going on from other causes, sounds a little odd, but life goes on. Babies are being born, and people are dying, and we aren’t able to congregate during these times like we normally are, and that sucks.

Margaret has been living in a long term care facility because of advanced Alzheimer’s for over two years. When they locked it down last month, and no longer allowed my father in law in she started to get worse. We’ll never know how much longer she would have lasted, but we are thinking she didn’t fare well without him. Right until the end, she always knew who he was.

They warned him that he would be one of the first people she forgot because they had only been married about seven years when this started. Still, he spent every day with her, and she never forgot. She didn’t always know his name, and she didn’t always know he was her husband, but she knew he was her love. She lit up when he came in the room, she reached for his kisses when he had to leave. I’m so very glad they found each other, I only wish they had more time together. I’ve not seen two people more in love.

'Losing a loved one from Alzheimer’s Disease during the coronavirus pandemic' Wendy Holcombe @1artsychick #AlzheimerCLICK TO TWEET

They allowed him in three days before she passed, so he was with her at the end. I’ll be forever grateful for that. He was the only family member who got to say goodbye. She has three children and grandchildren. They live across the country and could not travel during this time of isolation, but it would not have mattered, they wouldn’t have been allowed in.

There will be no real service at this time. Ten people are allowed at her internment, my father in law, her caregiver, and a couple of her life long friends, all are high risk, so even this will be will be strained. When the isolation is over there will be a memorial service, but that is so different. Right now, we can’t come together to grieve. We can’t hold one another. It’s like it’s not real. Nothing has changed. The only lives that have changed are Dad’s, and her caregiver’s.

The most I’ve cried is while I’ve been writing this. There has been a major death in my family, and it’s like nothing happened. I can’t even hug Dad, he has self-isolated, and I don’t blame him, he is high risk, but I really need that hug too. I don’t know how to help. He doesn’t show much of that kind of emotion, so I don’t know how he’s doing really. He says he’s fine. I worry. She was his life. But that’s why we moved here, only how do we help when we can’t spend time with him?

Oh, how I wish I could have known Margaret better, but the little I knew her, I adored her. She was an amazing woman! She was a trailblazer! She worked with computers long before it was something women did (some amazing stories there). She did amazing volunteer work, loved to hike, traveled the world, collected beautiful art, had an unwavering faith, raised three successful children, and was the kindest woman you could meet. And that’s just what I know about her!

She will be terribly missed.

We love you, Margaret.


"She didn’t always know his name, and she didn’t always know he was her husband, but she knew he was her love." Wendy Holcombe