I have been asked 4 times this week how my dad is doing, so I guess it’s time for an update.
I visit him once a week. I would love to go more often but even this summer, it was hard to get there more than once a week. But I don’t feel too guilty because number 1, he doesn’t remember that I have visited 2 minutes after I have left and number 2, well, refer to number 1.
He is only 25 minutes away now. I like to get there around lunch time so I can feed him myself. About a month ago, he tried to tell/show me how he wanted his stuffed bunny’s ears “glued to his face”. Well, that’s a sane request, right? Isn’t that normal, to have the stuffed bunny’s ears glued or taped over its eyes?
So I am absorbing that request, trying to figure out what it is he really wants, and as I am giving him his milk to drink, I see that he is dribbling his milk over the bunny’s face and trying to get the ears to stick to the milk so that they are “glued on”.
The brain is a funny organ, I think. What in the world is happening in his mind that this seems like an idea that might work? This man, who could see 50 patients a day and build a house on the side, and traveled to every continent but Antarctica and even flew over the Bermuda Triangle once in his private plane?
This man wants the bunny’s ears to be glued to his face, and he spits his milk on there to do that.
I visited him today. He has had some setbacks, and some declining. He can still remember my name, with some coaxing, but no longer really talks. He asked me today, “Where do you live?” and I told him. I tried to feed him today, and he said, “NO!” very strongly. He hasn’t been eating well the last 2 weeks, and the nurse said that she has to trick him into taking his meds, which she only had to start doing the last 2 weeks.
We are probably nearing the beginning of the end. This has been going on for 2 1/2 years now. He has probably been sick with this crap disease for 5 years or more, but it was May of 2014 that he entered the first assisted living facility. He was sick with pneumonia in July, and yall, seeing the “DNR” bracelet on his wrist was almost more than my heart could stand.
After someone is sick for so long, mentally sick, you forget that one day, he won’t be here physically either. He’s so already “not here”, that I thought I would be okay with him leaving this world, or if not “okay”, maybe halfway relieved.
But I don’t think I am going to be. I think that when my dad finally leaves this earth for his new home, my heart is going to break, and I am going to go into full fledged mourning. I feel like we are in half mourning now.
I still don’t know which is worse, losing your mind or losing your health. I would hate to see him in pain, but knowing that he could talk to us, and help my mom with their business, and that he could know that these kids that visit him are his grandchildren, I sometimes think that would be better.
I have a friend whose mom is in full blown Alzheimer’s and we had this discussion the other day; he said, without hesitation, that he would rather his mom have cancer than Alzheimer’s. He said this was much worse. I don’t know that I don’t agree; unfortunately, I am going to probably find out, since my precious father in law was recently diagnosed with cancer.
My mom and I cried together today. Because we know what’s coming and because we aren’t certain how it will happen. I am so busy with my own life, but she is busy with my dad and her parents, so her lonesomeness is much more acute. We hate watching my dad be this way, but we aren’t necessarily ready to not see him at all.
In Psalms, the Word tells us that our flesh and our heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever. Everything happens because God allows it. I am certainly not going to say “Everything happens for a reason” because I am not sure if that’s Scriptural. I do know that everything that happens, God already knew about it and vetted it.
But I am still sad for my family. Everyone has troubles, but these are ours, and my dad was the Anchor of our lives for a long time. He is here now physically, and I guess that has to be enough. Keep asking about him, keep praying for us, and be grateful for all you have. I am.