Another Dance With My Father

Posted: February 28, 2013 in Alzheimer's - Slipping Away
Tags: , , , , , , ,

My father fell again while he was cutting the grass in the lawn. He fell on his back, half of his body on the land while the other half on the marble footpath. He desperately called for help, but to no avail. My mother was sleeping in her bedroom, oblivious to what was happening to her husband. So he painfully told me how he feebly crawled back to the house, and clawed on whatever he can get his hands on to be able to sit up. Hand on the small of his back, dad groaned, still in pain. This was the horrible news I got from my parents when I visited the other day. He tripped again, despite my countless pleas for him to refrain from doing chores outside the main house.

Apparently, my father sneaked his way to the nearby store again too. He said he just wanted to buy something. This, again, happened despite our deal that he will not wander off the street anymore. He has been brought home by concerned neighbors a number of times before. Why he insists on walking to the store when no one’s looking is beyond me.

Once more, it was proven which parent I got my stubborn attitude from.

He then asked if he can borrow my gun. He said he’s been contemplating on using it on himself “to end everyone’s misery”, as he puts it. He said he wants to die. He said that things would have been better if he died when he fell. He also asked for our opinion: do we think jumping off the roof of the house would do the trick?

Suicidal tendencies must run in the family – a new discovery. My father wants to die.

I wanted to mercilessly shake my father until he goes back to his senses. I wanted to call for an exorcist; clearly he was possessed by some evil entity. This couldn’t be real. This can’t be my dad talking… But the harsh truth remains, this is my reality now. The frail man who was seriously proclaiming ideas about committing suicide was my father. It could be the pain talking. It could be melancholy. It could be his Alzheimer’s. It could be a thousand other things, but the fact remains, he is my father.

So for the nth time, I begun reciting the amazingly long list of blessings he has in his life, while inwardly praying that having me as his daughter would be reason enough for him to want to keep living. We do this heart-breaking dance each time I visit. He would whine about his endless so-called tribulations, which often leads to him talking about death and wanting to expedite his mortality. I would doggedly give my best to get through him, begging him to take good care of himself while I’m away. With immense determination, one by one I would narrate all the wonderful things in his life. He would temporarily concede, and then have a go at it again after a few minutes.

It’s an endless tragic dance.

I have been considering sending him to a nursing home lately (much to my mother’s disagreement). In there he would be in the care of experts. He will also be among his equals. He would have new friends. It just might make a difference to the quality of his life, our lives, if he is in a nursing home. We can still do our dance while he’s there. I would visit just as often, or may be even more frequently. I have been thinking… I have also been brooding in guilt for even thinking this. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. What could a daughter do?

Related Article: Alzheimer’s and A Promise To Keep

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  1. walktofree says:

    Your writing is powerful and moving.. almost tearing up (also with your previous post). Makes me think of my parents who are not getting younger. I think I’m in denial that it will eventually happen… them getting weaker and having to depend on us after us depending on them for so long. I realize how at this point in my life, I haven’t actually given back all I want to give back to them and I hate myself for that. I admire your rawness.

    • IcedBit says:

      Thank you. Sometimes we get too preoccupied, life’s just too busy. But it’s never too late. All that’s expected from us is that we at least try. =)

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