Sunday, December 28, 2008

Things that shouldn't mix:

Christmas and Alzheimer's.

He didn't know who I was.

I went to visit him in the TV room at my mom's house Christmas afternoon. He lay on the couch, the squeaking and commentating and clapping sounds of an NBA game playing on the television. His long skinny feet were crossed on the armrest, and his arms were folded over his chest. He would look at me, but not really; it was more of a glance, but repeated, like a nervous bird on a wire watching an unfamiliar cat. I said, "Hi Dad."


I sat and teased him for a while. Tried to talk basketball and Koby Bryant and all that. After five minutes, when he finally realized who I was, he tried to get up, arms reaching out as if for a life line that remained out of his grasp. I leaned over to hug him, and he grabbed onto me and held me there. Finally, he knew he should know me. He might of even thought I was Her, the youngest one, the one who broke her arm in fourth grade.

Later on, at dinner, he said how he didn't know what was going on. He knew where his chair was, because it was the one he inhabited for 35 years, but, he didn't know why he was sitting there on that day. Who all those noisy people were. So he ate his food quickly and took up his post on the couch.

My kind brother-in-law took my picture with him. I don't want to look at the picture, because I know I was fighting the tears that would explode later in the car.

As my mom drove him "home" that night, he said, "Wow. The price of gas has come down." He can't say our names or understand Christmas, but he can understand gas prices.

Yet another reason Alzheimer's sucks.


Amy Sorensen said...

Honestly...I think it is this right here that is casting my pall. I need to write about it too, maybe, just to get it out of my system. I hope the photo turned out. I wanted to get one, too, but then I just didn't do it.

HUGS. You wrote this beautifully!

Isabel said...

Oh yes, beautifully written. Although it breaks my heart to read.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry about your dad. What a horrible disease. I'm impressed by your strength.


Jeff and Kayci Bitton said...

I'm Sorry Becky! I can't imagine how hard this must be for you. It was hard to see him when I was there too. He wanted to see Claire so bad, but grandma knew he couldn't. I felt horrible! It was so much fun to see everyone! Thanks for meeting us for dinner, it was so fun!! I love you! We'll see you soon, right??

Ginger said...

I'm sorry Becky. I wish I could write something to make you feel better. I can't imagine what you are going through.

Jeanette said...

Big hugs from me. Alzheimers does certainly suck, it robs you of the person you love long before they're gone, and leaves you with a wealth of hurts.

Lucy said...

Wow. This stinks. But your words are really moving and you captured your struggle and emotion very well.