Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What feels like the beginning of the end…

So, if this comes off as whiney & “oh, poor me” I apologize in advance. My blog is a place that I go to for working things out in my head, and this is one that I need help with. Bloggy help. Open-up-the-burdens-of-your-heart help. So, read on if you want some major whining. I guess sometimes we have to have a pity party before we pick up and move on with the changes in our lives. Ok, now I've warned you…

I’ve talked a little about my Dad on this blog. In October of 2005, we found out he had alzheimers. Things hadn’t been right with him for about a year. Even when Ben was born the previous February, my dad wasn’t himself. He complained that his memory wasn’t good. He had a haunted look in his eyes the night he met Ben. Something was wrong, but I hoped against hope it was depression or something less…I don’t know. Less permanent. Less like looking down a long dark tunnel to a depressing end.

Flash forward through time with me. June 2006: I visit my dad and take him on a trip to the bookstore. I read him a bit of one of my favorite books; he asks me to buy it for him, and I do, knowing he probably can’t read it anymore. December 2006: dad complains that the newspaper he’s reading doesn’t make any sense. July 2007: my mom finally sells his car, because he hasn’t been able to drive for months. February 2008: Dad comes to Ben’s birthday party at my house. He can say hi to those who speak to him first, and, in a suprising moment of clarity, tells me he likes it when he comes to my house (but he calls it “Becky’s house.”) May 2008, mother’s day: a silent dad eats what is put in front of him, stands where his daughters tell him to stand while they take pictures. Even simple words like “Hi” and “bye” and “I love you” are spoken in a halting voice, the concentration that it takes to even say these words almost tangible.

June 1, 2008. It’s two weeks away. It’s 6 days away from his birthday. It’s also the day that he will no longer live at home anymore. It’s the day when his clothes and few possessions will be transferred to a nursing facility, the same nursing facility I remember visiting my Grandpa in 6 months before he died. That will be my dad’s new home.

I know it’s a necessary step. I don’t fault my mom for making this decision; she has done as much as she can to keep him home, and I know that this is hard for her as well. But when I found out last night that the timeline of my dad’s “home” vs “nursing facility” would be two weeks, TWO WEEKS, it hit me hard. I’m more mad at circumstances and stupid diseases that take away our loved ones. I hate it that I can look at a man that looks like my dad, but is really a stranger inhabiting his body. I hate it that he can’t do any of the things he loves anymore, like reading and mowing the lawn and telling old random stories from 30 years ago and laughing over stupid jokes and. And. And.

I just miss my dad. And I wish he didn’t have to go through this trial, and I wish I didn’t have to watch him go through this trial. I hate that he’s right there in front of my face, but miles away, in his mind, trying or not trying to puzzle it all out.

Two weeks. Alzheimers REALLY sucks.

8 comments:

Lucy said...

I'm sorry, Becky. This is something I have only witnessed from a far, grandparents of friends, neighbors etc. It sounds heartbreaking. I think you and your sister's writing about him and his disease is not only educational (about the disease and how painful it is for those left behind)but beautiful and something you will cherish years down the road. I hope getting it out helps.

Ginger said...

I am so very sorry you have to go through this. I cannot imagine watching one of my parents have that disease. My great aunt who was more like an aunt to us has Alzheimers and she is in a nursing home as well. It hurt me when she didn't recognize me at first until I fully understood what she was going through. You should vent on your blog anytime you want because it really does help. Sometimes it is easier to write out feelings than it is to talk about them.

Jeff & Kayci Bitton said...

Wow, I didn't know it was going to be this soon either! I bet it is hard to be his daughter...I miss him but don't really remember a lot about him, like you do. I am sorry it hurts so bad. He will remember it all on the other side and see how much you truly care for him and be so grateful to have a daughter like you. You will get to re-live these experiences with him and he will be there, altogether. I hope you can feel better. I love you and miss you!

Amy Sorensen said...

Glad I checked your blog this morning (well, I usually check it every morning, but you know what I mean) because hey: I didn't know that the 1st was the date. I am going today to look at the 2 facilities Mom is considering. I was really hoping she'd put him in the one that Chris's grandma is in, but she's not. Anyway, I am not sure yet just exactly HOW I feel about it. Right now it doesn't feel like anything, yet. But I so whole-heartedly agree: it sucks. It is one of life's cruelest things, this disease.

Amy Sorensen said...

Glad I checked your blog this morning (well, I usually check it every morning, but you know what I mean) because hey: I didn't know that the 1st was the date. I am going today to look at the 2 facilities Mom is considering. I was really hoping she'd put him in the one that Chris's grandma is in, but she's not. Anyway, I am not sure yet just exactly HOW I feel about it. Right now it doesn't feel like anything, yet. But I so whole-heartedly agree: it sucks. It is one of life's cruelest things, this disease.

Melanie said...

That does suck! I can relate in a very small way, because my grandpa is suffering from dimensia and really doesn't know who I am anymore. But grandparents are different. I can't imagine going through it with a parent. Your parents are supposed to be there to be grandparents to your kids, and to talk to and build a new kind of relationship with once you have a family of your own. I feel so sad that you have to miss out on that with your dad. It seems almost harder that he is still around, but that he isn't really there. Why does life have to be so sad sometimes?

Becky K said...

Thanks to everyone for their messages. I always feel whiney after I post something like this. Blogs and bloggy friends make things like this more bearable, so thanks for "listening." You all are great! And since a neice and a sister have both commented, you are going through this too; it's not just my sadness, but our sadness. ;) Becky

audrey said...

Oh, Becky, I'm so sorry! I'm sorry to be late reading this; by now your dad has moved in, right? I can't begin to imagine how hard this must be on you and your family. You're in my thoughts.