I have lived next door to my parents for the last 10 years. Almost. In 2005, after Weatherman was born, we started thinking about moving from our home to some place a little bigger. One Saturday, my dad said, “I’ll give you 5 acres and some money to build next door to us.” I said, “Give us? How much interest and how much money will you charge us per acre?”
He said, “I am going to give it to you.” Well, after 20 minutes more of me asking how much and him telling me he’d give it to us, I said I would talk to Hubs. See, after my education, nothing came free from my dad. But when I had Weatherman, well, things changed fast. My dad was body snatched. He did things for his grandchildren that he would never have done for us, and I asked several times, “What in the world?”
I remember that he took off a WHOLE day to take my nephew to see Spiderman at some event, and I was just in shock. It was like the Cosby Show, where Bill Cosby said that this was not the same man who raised him, and that they were trying to earn their way into heaven now.
My Dad has always loved his grandchildren. He tolerated us so that he could get to our children, and my boys 100% adore him. He would much rather be around them than us.
And now, that’s what I focus on. My boys have been real troopers about this. Dad is at an assisted living facility about an hour away from us, and we have visited not less than 5 times in the last 3 weeks. My boys have not complained ONE TIME about the drive. I cannot believe this. This is a God thing. Trust me. They complain about everything, and the fact that we have made this drive as much as we have, and they have not whined, that is a GOD thing.
This disease, though. It is vicious. Dad is not remembering lots of things now. And when I talk to him, he is not comprehending what I am saying. Which is frustrating, because I am not sure if he is just hard of hearing or if he really doesn’t understand what I am saying. This disease is mean.
This disease has taken a man who could put a picture up of what he wanted and the next week would have it, and reduced him to shuffling across the floor and struggling to get up on his bed. This disease has reduced my dad to child-like status. I even said to him today, “Do you need to potty?” OH. MY. STARS. Are you kidding me?
But I do know this. Even when he doesn’t remember my brothers, he remembers their children. He told me ALL of their names today, when I showed him pictures of them. Do you know how happy this makes me? Do you know that I have tears in my eyes as I type this? One visit I made to him a few weeks ago, I had to literally push the door closed on him as he was trying to leave with me, but I would do it another 100 times if it meant that he got to see his grandchildren, and smile and laugh with them. He is my dad. He gave me my memorable name, even though he doesn’t remember that name now. He gave me my life.
He is Dad. The one I depended on, who could do anything. I trusted him to take care of whatever I needed. I hope he lets me help take care of him now.