You know when it is said you can’t die from a broken heart? I believe that as I have had my heart broken a few times and in different circumstances and have survived them with time, good friends and family and some good therapy. But to have a broken heart along with the grief that […]
Is there such a thing as perfect timing? I have always thought so and I firmly believe in Gods timing being perfect. And I have always been able to take “the pause” and wait for the right moments to present themselves for events in my life. But I am really struggling right now in trying to find the right time and place for this decision.
When your kids are little you have to take care of them for everything. Then as they get older they begin to learn how to do things for themselves. You know the progression of things will ultimately lead to pre-school, kindergarten and so on.
When dealing with a parent who has dementia that process goes in the other direction. They have been your parent and larger than life for you, but then they begin to go backwards in time. Becoming the child you once were and needing that same nurturing and care that you needed when you were a child. But wait!
They aren’t a child, they were used to making their own choices and decisions but they can’t do that anymore . They have designated you to make life choices for them.
So what do I do for a man, my dad, who saved his whole life to be able to live out his remaining years in his comfortable, safe and familiar home? Because he repeats himself, can’t remember things that just happened an hour ago and can’t decide between burgers or spaghetti for dinner, is that a reason to move him to a care facility?
Dealing with my dad’s dementia has been a humbling, patience-building, eye-opening experience these last 10 months. Trying to balance his demand for independence while providing his need for constant attention, assurance and safety. While at the same dealing with his constant fear of the unknown, change in his routine, hearing loss and comprehension and plain and simple child-like needs and behavior.
I’m reading as much as I can on what to expect from him, about the world he is living in and how I can help him and myself while this cruel disease continues to take away a little bit more of him each day.
Yesterday was a good example of his world and how we perceive what we think is happening when actually it’s something else…if that makes sense.
My dad’s driver’s license was taken away last March when he was diagnosed with Frontal Temporal Dementia. Within a few months we sold my mom’s car that had not been driven in years, but he knew it was time to sell it. That was hard for him. That left his ’96 Lincoln in the garage. I would drive him in it when I visited and we kept up the oil changes, registration and insurance. But the time came to also sell it as the a/c no longer worked and in Palm Springs that is a necessity in the summer. My brother had a friend of his come to get the car yesterday to take it to his shop to get it ready to sell.
While selling an old car may be a relief to some it is just another piece of dad’s life that is changing. He had already shared with me earlier how he remembers he and my mom buying the car new in 1996 (I think). He wants to have a hand in how much he accepts for the sale. While the car is valued at $2800, he wants $4000. When I said, “dad, it is a very old car and needs work done on it”, his response was “the motor is good and it is such a pretty car”. I could hear the emotion in his voice and I said “dad, this must be really hard for you, I know you loved that car”. He then said something I hadn’t even thought of. He said “you know, mom and I took a lot of trips in that car and drove around in it a lot”. I hadn’t stopped to think about that. Another piece of his life with mom going away.
We lost my mom in April. It was his wife of 62 years. So while he is dealing with his own world and mind changing from dementia he lost his partner/friend/companion which was his whole world. I tell my dad on a daily basis that I love him and that I know he is doing the best he can. I talk to him like I would one of my kids when they were little. They just wanted to be reassured, comforted, understood and heard.
After all that my dad has done for me over the years it’s the least I can do to be kind to him, to listen to him and to try to understand his fear and confusion. But most of all to remember that he is still my dad, even though our roles have reversed he did the same for me when I was a child and I’m honored that I can do it for him now.
You know when you have a phone call you’re really looking forward to? Well my dad has four calls every day that he looks forward to and they’re all with me. My dad has dementia and he lost his wife, my mom, in April. And what he looks forward to now every day is hearing my voice. We talk at lunch, after I get off work, in the evening, and before he goes to bed. Some may think it’s obsessive or weird. I try to remember how blessed I am that I get to talk to my dad every day and that he loves me so much he wants to talk to me. Don’t get me wrong it’s overwhelming at times, but if that’s all it takes to make him happy and keep him calm when his brain is going through this cruel disease then I will do it as long as he still knows who I am and can still talk on the phone. Well the bedtime call is coming up and I am winding down. I hope everyone has somebody who loves them as much as my dad loves me. Good night
Hi, I’m Laurie…As most people say I never thought I’d be writing a blog post, but for me there is no time like the present. I am not an overly dramatic person and I do not share a lot about myself with strangers. But really we are all in this together, right? And if anything I have to share can help others that is why we are on this planet, to help others and be kind. Sounds pretty sappy I’m sure, but if we can’t be kind what else is there? My life is not full of exotic travels or dramatic tales, but I am very blessed and have some thoughts on living that I need to put down on paper…or type on the computer as it were.
I live in Southern California with my wonderful husband, Dave, and am still wondering to this day why he has stuck around all these years with all the craziness that has gone on in our lives..to which he replies…”I can’t wait to see what happens next.” We have 3 grown children, all scattered about and 3 dogs. (You will hear more about them in posts to come-the dogs and maybe a little about the kids.) I have worked at the same company for 35 years and am definitely ready for a new challenge, just not sure what yet. I do know that I have a lot of thoughts on life, love, family and friendship and I feel it is the time to start releasing them…embracing some that I will hold on to forever and moving on from others that continue to, at times, fill me with feelings of loss, pain and sadness.
Even if no one ever reads this I will feel better and able to move on with my life and be prepared for all that is to come…and definitely have some giggles along the way…xo