Thursday, October 11, 2012
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
The bonus was that he was having a "good" day in terms of his mental state, so we were able to call one of his brothers and his two sisters so they could talk. He connected well, surprising my sister and I, and it was wonderful to see. It wore him out, though. We left him as he was getting ready to lay down for a nap. Too much cake, too much ice cream, too much concentrating.
But I think he'd do it all over again without complaints!
Monday, October 8, 2012
Today, though, the milestones are different, thanks to Alzheimer's.
He smiled and laughed? So thankful.
He was able to eat on his own? Tremendous news.
He remembered our names? Such sweet, sweet joy.
These are the things that make us happy now, and we celebrate these milestones for the gifts that they are.
Happy birthday, Dad. We love you.
Saturday, October 6, 2012
My sister and I are now twelve years into our rocky relationship with dementia. We didn't ask for this, our new roles as caregivers, watchdogs, warrior advocates, guardians. We didn't plan for this. No one ever does. And yet, here we are. Parenting our parent, one who has a debilitating disease that will eventually kill him after making him suffer. That's blunt, but that's the way it is.
They call Alzheimer's "The Long Goodbye" because unlike losing a loved one to, say, an accident or a sudden heart attack, with Alzheimer's you lose them bit by bit, memory by memory, every single day. There's no grieving, processing, and getting on with your life here. It's a daily struggle, coping, crying, getting kicked in the guts, and then summoning the courage to do it all over again the next day. Every day.
And, when one has to wonder if they will end up like their parent, a thought that never leaves your mind, not for one tiny second, then Alzheimer's is not just scary, it's downright terrifying.
How many times can one's heart break and then mend, time after time, so you can keep going? How many tears can one person shed in a lifetime? How many fears can one cope with before the mind screams "I can't take any more"?
I don't know....
But I'm learning.
Additional reading: The Long Goodbye - Features - Atlanta Magazine