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Losing A Parent To Alzheimer’s Is Devastating

My Handsome Daddy I love and miss you so

My Handsome Daddy. I love and miss you so

 

In the early days of my father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, I visited him several times a week. I picked him up every Saturday morning in my Jeep and took him to breakfast at IHOP.

Sometimes, Robert and I visited him during evenings for coffee. We’d wheel him down to the cafeteria, which he called the mess hall. There was never anyone else there, and my father would brag that the coffee was free. It was the only thing he had left to offer us. It was lukewarm, that’s what I remember, and we poured it into tiny tan plastic cups. We has conversations, but they were stilted. Still, I believed my father was safe, and so was everyone else – from his bad driving, growing forgetfulness and irrationality.

During these early days, he often asked to leave the nursing home. Help me get out of here, he’d say.

It’s been seven years. He’s stopped asking.

My father’s vacancies come by way of sorrow, not Alzheimer’s.

The other day, somebody I follow on Twitter asked if we could be one person for a day who would it be? The answer is easy. I would be my dad. That way, I could know. What, I do not know. Just. Something.

I love you, Dad. I pray, by some miracle, your days be filled with joy. It was great to hear you pray again. And, from you favorite, Paul: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” Thank you for your sacrifices, for your legacy. For your life, surrendered and altered by God’s grace. It has made a difference for generations.

Alzheimer’s Is Devastating.

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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16 Comments

  1. Andi

    I would wish the same. I would have liked to be in my Grandmother’s mind to see what she remembered, what she felt, what she thought. I cannot imagine what it feels like to go in and out of conscious – to have your memories and then lose them, and then re-gain them…sigh, thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  2. jen

    @OKLAHOMA GIRL – THank you for sharing that. You are such a blessing. I’ve missed you.

    @SOMETHING HAPPENED SOMEWHERE TURNING – Beaux, Thank you for your note – especially the one you left around New Year’s or Christmas. I treasured it in my heart all day and continue to even still. It was just what I needed to hear. You are a treasure!

    @CGHILL – I read that four times – each time asking myself – do I love this deep? Then I wondered about the difference in taking the burden away or taking it on. For our children we take it on if we can. This is what I believe God does for us. Thank you for that comment.

    Reply
  3. CGHill

    The very definition of love:

    “I would take this burden from you if I could.”

    Reply
  4. Something Happened Somewhere Turning

    These post always make me think of my Mother-in-law.
    I know how wrenching this is to go through. I have been there. My heart and prayers are with you and your family.

    Reply
  5. Oklahoma Girl

    This is a disease that robs us of so much, robs the one afflicted too. But of just what I am not sure other than the life they had been living, a conscienceness in this Life. I know with my Grandmother that she, while being non-verbal for a longtime, did “see & communicate” with someone. I could tell by feeling it & by observing it. While her Spirit was trapped in her body I do not believe it was trapped in her mind. She lived in that place between this world & the Other Side. Her time w/Alzheimer’s was a preparation for her final Journey. I was priviledged to help her with that Journey by providing comfort, consoling her, & by knowing that just because she had forgotten me as her granddaughter she had not forgotten my authentic self. That was the person she recognized when she no longer recognized me. Sadly comforting. I blogged about her in a post earlier this year called “Losing Grandma”. I hope she knew the influence she had in my life.

    Hugs to you dear girl! I love you & pray that not only your Dad’s Journey through this is easy, but also yours.

    Let’s get together soon.

    blessed be…
    donis

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    Thank you Jen–
    Hugs– Mom

    Reply
  7. jen

    @BALONEY – Your prayer on his behalf will be heard, I know.

    @K80s/onegirlsjourney – Thanks for the follow and for stopping by and reading this post. I’ll visit your blog soon. I do love that verse so much.

    @JENNIFERK – and, they do disappear – into Alzheimer’s, into sadness. I’m never quite sure.

    @UNDERSTANDING ALICE – That last line in your comment gives me hope – i love that – love outlasts illness. i know it’s true. bless you for thinking to say it.

    @LIN – oh, lin, i’m a shadow of the poet he was. really. i love you.

    @JIM – oh, this comment provokes my thinking. what a blessing to read this, jim. i can’t thank you enough. it’s a great meditation for today. God does love us so much.

    Reply
  8. Jennifer K

    Jen, this was so beautifully written, and me choke up a bit. To see our loved ones “disappear” is so heartbreaking. You and your father are in my thoughts.

    Reply
  9. jen

    @JOHN – Thank your for your kind sentiments. They really help.

    @MIRUSPEG – Sometimes, I don’t think I’ve been there nearly enough. The days for him are so unbearably long and repeat themselves like a Groundhog Day. Thank you for your loving comment and friendship.

    @LE – You have a way of saying the most comforting thing in few, simple words.

    Reply
  10. le @ whoopwhoop

    awww hon .. this ain’t easy … love you le

    Reply
  11. Jim Smith

    Your desire to be your dad for a day is a great testament of your love for him. It is also a great metaphor for what Christians believe about God who became flesh. You continue to provoke my thinking Jen.

    Reply
  12. John Hayes

    It’s just hard to see our parents in such debilitated states. I had some of those same feelings when my dad was in a home. Fortunately, in his case, he was only there for a matter of months, not years. All our very best to you in this trial.

    Reply
  13. Lin

    Beautiful…..I love the way you think…..You write like Daddy.

    Love you,
    Lin

    Reply
  14. Understanding Alice

    Its never easy is it. Both my nan had(long departed now) and my husbands nan has Alzheimers. It’s a long road loving someone who is ill in this way… but love outlasts any illness.

    Reply
  15. Baloney

    Jen – I will say this prayer too. We watched Doc’s grandfather slowly decline the same way. Very sad.

    Reply
  16. miruspeg

    Jen you are a loving angel. You have always been there for your father through the good times and the bad.
    He is blessed to have a daughter like you.
    We all pray that there is some joy in your fathers life.
    Hugs
    Peggy xxxxx

    Reply

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