A friend’s husband died early this morning from dementia. It’s not sudden or unexpected. In our adult years, the death of a friend, or an acquaintance, or a loved family member often comes out of nowhere. Dementia is slow death, giving you plenty of time to imagine how it will happen.
I’ve had both experiences. You recover from it, but it never goes away. Just yesterday a few of us had a long conversation about his condition. We knew he was dying, but not when. It came sooner than I expected. It wouldn’t have made any difference. I felt it as if my own wife had just died, too. That feeling will always be part of me.
My own grief enables me to understand deeply how my friend feels. I may not want to know grief, but it connects me to other people in a way that I couldn’t know without it. It’s a gift that comes with the price we pay by knowing grief.