“Ask a Priest: Is It Odd to Feel in Mourning for a Loved One Still Alive?”

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Q: My mom and I go to my grandparents’ house every week. My grandma is 90 years old, has survived three strokes and now has dementia. Is it normal for me to feel like I am mourning the grandma I once knew? Her personality is so different. Could God heal my grandma? It is heartbreaking to see her suffer. Please pray for her. – M.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother.

One of the downsides of improved medicine is that, because people live longer, their health tends to deteriorate in more dramatic and prolonged ways.

It’s understandable that you feel as though you have lost the grandmother you once knew. Yet, she is certainly the same person, the same beloved daughter of God.

This is a moment when you can show your love by your ongoing acts of love toward her, even though she might not be able to respond as you would like.

In fact, this is a moment when your love for her can be purified. You might not get the same feedback that you would have in the past. That’s OK; your love is a powerful witness. It tells those around you that Grandma still has incomparable value in your eyes.

Could God heal her? Anything is possible. But he might prefer to use the situation as a chance for all the family to rally around your grandmother. Which could be a path toward holiness for all of you.

Count on my prayers for Grandma.



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