Saturday, December 25, 2010

Alzheimer's Christmas, Part 2.

I went and visited my dad after Christmas tonight.

It was almost an afterthought; we had already passed both of the traditional freeway exits that take you to his residence.  But Shane was willing to drive through the sleepy Utah County streets, all the stores dark and peaceful and gearing up for tomorrow's returning frenzy.

For some reason, the moment I decided to visit my dad, I started to cry.  And I didn't stop.  I went in alone to visit him.  I found him lying in his bed, still a little awake.  I had walked through the locked corridors of his rest home trying to hold it together, but I lost it all over again when I saw him.  I knelt by his bed and sobbed. I don't know why; it was just too sad for me tonight that he is frozen inside his body.  His mouth opens only to eat, like a baby bird.  He does not smile or frown or laugh or cry.  He blinks and nods his head and shakes his head.  What this means only the Lord knows.  His hands are bony from clenching them all the time.

I told him how much I missed him.  I held his hand and got it all teary and snotty. I laid my head on his shoulder and wished for him to comfort me.  I held his head, like I do my sons when they are sick or sleepy on their pillows.  I told him as many things as I could.  But he never said anything back.

Maybe it's an every other year thing.  Maybe I just was extra emotional today. I'm not usually a crier, so I don't know where it all came from.

It was awful to leave him, alone and small in his lowered-to-the-floor hospital bed. What if he knew I was there and wanted me to stay, holding his hand and stroking his hair?  What if later, after I left, he said the words that I wanted to hear (not that I could tell you what those words were.)  I just wanted to hear his voice.  Let him comfort me in a fatherly sort of way.

I can't put any spin on this to help it end on a happy note. It is bitter to me. Alzheimer still sucks.


Lucy said...

Oh, Becky, this is so sad. I'm sorry you and your family and your dad share this reality. Thinking of you.

Kasandra said...

thanks for being so honest and sharing...can't imagine how hard it is!