Mrs. Lion is doing her best to keep herself and our lives normal. She can’t. I don’t expect her to do anything beyond what works for her now. Taking care of me and my needs belongs on the bottom of her list. I know this creates conflicts for her. I think she feels guilty about turning inward. I understand and I am available for hugs and snuggles without sex.
I know she feels a sense of responsibility for my happiness. At times like this, that can add to the pain she is feeling. I feel it too. I understand the sense of loss she has. My mother suffered from dementia beginning when she was 74. I saw her a few times before it got too bad. After that, her husband didn’t want me to see her. He wanted my memories to be of her when she was herself. They lived in Florida and I was in New York. She lived another 14 years. Her husband, not my father, stayed with her until her death. Losing her was more than expected. I hoped it would come and take her from her suffering. When she finally passed, I missed her and, like Mrs. Lion, felt numb.
Just because something is inevitable doesn’t mean it can’t take you by surprise. You think you should be prepared. That means you feel guilty that you are reacting in a way you didn’t expect. Somehow you think you should have felt all the feelings in advance. That never works, at least for me. This isn’t true for catastrophic losses like a death in the family. It’s true for pretty much anything.
I admire Mrs. Lion. She knows that she is going to feel bad and has resolved to ride out the feelings. At least I hope she has. My job is to give her the support she needs to get through it.