Pauline Boss, Ph.D. has spent a lifetime researching loss, particularly ambiguous loss.
Dr. Boss calls dementia an ambiguous, or unclear, loss because the loved one is simultaneously here and gone. Whatever relationship you had before with the person with dementia is now different. In her words, the person is Gone, but still there.
This ambiguity makes life for the caregiver difficult. The caregiver has to find the middle ground. As Dr. Boss says, you have to find the place where absence and presence co-exist.
I found the author’s discussion of ambiguity in relation to dementia very interesting and very relatable. While she gives examples of how caregivers dealt with situations and explains the stressors in the life of a caregiver, it is a little dry and slow reading. For me, it wasn’t a book that I just couldn’t put down so I read it parts at a time.
I wish that I had read this book before my mom had passed away rather than afterward. I think it might have made me look at my relationship with Mom in a different way and maybe I would have handled situations better.