Not For Lack of Trying

Posted: March 21, 2013 in Alzheimer's - Slipping Away
Tags: , , , , ,
photo by mangmertha / merthagraphy

photo by mangmertha / merthagraphy

My husband and I visited my father this weekend. We brought him lots of bread, in all assortments. They’re his favourite. He immediately sat up the moment he heard my voice calling to him. Hand in his lower back, I caught the grimace in his face from the pain he must be enduring. I could still vividly remember the glint of happiness in his eyes when he saw us. His appreciative words still linger in my ears: “you know I’m only happy when you visit”. Was it the bread we brought that made him say this? Of course I’m being silly. I was desperately choking back tears the whole time.

Through the blaring sound of his precious TV set, I managed to entice him in a conversation about current events. May be I could push my luck and he would indulge me in a healthy debate just like before? I was vehemently trying to relive the past and dreadfully failing. He sat there, concentrating on my words, intently listening and disappointingly agreeing to everything I said. I got “Oh really”, “You’re right”, “That’s true”, and several nods from him in between my ramblings about the news and the world. No objections, no rebuttals – his mind was elsewhere, like always.

His beloved granddaughter, my niece, just turned 18 years old, and she asked me to extend her appreciation of their birthday gift to her. “We gave her a gift?”, he already forgot that he and mom asked me to send a gift on their behalf a couple of weeks ago. And that was that; no follow up questions whatsoever, no desire to know further about his grandchildren.

This visit was different though. There were no rubbish talk about suicide, no whining, and more importantly, no new casualties by my father. What surprised me was he actually asked how I was doing. He asked about me. He was still my father. I have anticipated another tragic dance with him. I have braced myself for an agonizing talk about him, his life, and his world alone. For him to ask about me is a rarity these days, I was caught flabbergasted. So then I went about pretending that everything is grand in my absolutely amazing life. There was no use to cause him to worry about me, even when I was dying inside to confide in him just like the old days. But no, I can’t that day; I can’t anymore.

When it came down to saying our goodbyes, he asked when we’ll visit again, and then his mind drifted once more…

I would visit every day if I could, if only it’s not so painful seeing him this way.

Alzheimer’s and A Promise To Keep
Another Dance With My Father

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