Moving day is over. The ex-wife‘s things are out of my dad’s house and, from what I hear, the process went fairly smoothly. I think we all stressed more than necessary, but isn’t that usually how it works? Getting past this point was a huge relief to us all, but I know my dad has not let his anger and hurt go just because he had to let the “stuff” go.
As a therapist, I know that letting go of anger and hurt is a difficult yet important part of healing from any trauma or loss. This is a monumental task for anyone who goes through a divorce, but I can’t even fathom the task it is for my father given his dementia. He gets extremely confused and can not sort out his thoughts or emotions which always seem to focus on anger and being a victim. He can’t remember his own contribution to the downfall of the marriage. What he knows is that he has Alzheimer’s and his wife left him in January when he was out of town, took a lot of their possessions, and didn’t even leave a note.
What I want him to do is be able to go to a therapist and work through his anger and pain. What I want him to be able to do is sort through his destructive thoughts and be able to challenge the validity of the things he tells himself such as “she has been planning this for years” and “I have been betrayed.” But he can not because shortly after I talk him through his anger by pointing out how history contradicts these statements, he forgets and his mind begins telling himself these stories once again.
I hope the adage that ‘time heals all wounds’ comes to fruition for my father’s sake. But is that possible in a mind where time and space has become distorted and that will never heal?