Grief can take place before an actual physical death. Today I had tears over my Mom. First, I cried when she wouldn't respond to my touch and voice when I went to her assisted living suite to check on her. Her body was still alive, but her mind ... I don't know if it's the onset of dementia or drug-induced stupor but she wouldn't respond. And when she did, she was confused about the time, when I got there, and would see things I couldn't see (like my Father, who has been gone for 3 years now.)
I called the ambulance, they came and got her, and while waiting in the ER for her to be admitted, I had tears at the indignity of her situation.
Her likely near death does not bother me as much as her suffering through the dying process. Don't get me wrong, I will grieve after she dies ... but I'm already grieving what I've lost. And I grieve for her too. It must be so hard to be betrayed by failing health and mental confusion.
I've lost my cognizant, upbeat, optimistic, loving and nurturing Mom. Now she looks like a twitching, tensing, mumbling, hallucinating elderly woman who is tired and whose body is wearing out.
I am exhausted and tired and sad. If I had a wish, it would be that there was a place where my Mom could spend her final days in a comfortable soft bed, surrounded by trees and flowers and songbirds, her favourite music, and her loved ones, and that someone was there to hold her hand when her moment of departure came. I wished the same for my Dad, but his exit did not appear very dignified or comfortable.