Sunday, June 1, 2008

Trying

I've been trying not to write every single post about my dad. I've been trying really hard. But the truth is that I think about him all the time. My dad is in the back (or front) on my mind all the time. Most days I am able to enjoy the boys, the weather, and our daily life. I am so lucky and I know I have a wonderful life. But there is this heartache tucked away.

This past Wednesday dad was finally taken out of the psych ward at the hospital and transferred to a nursing home. It all went smoothly and so far it looks like dad is coping well. There have not been any violent outbursts yet, so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

The day after he arrived at the nursing home I started decorating his room. It looked so bare compared to all the other residents and I wanted to spruce it up as soon as possible. Mom kept telling me that dad probably wouldn't notice and not to make too much fuss but I figured that if dad couldn't be at home at least he could be surrounded by pictures and blankets and music from home. Just as I was finishing up mom walked into the room took one look around and started crying. She wasn't expecting to see me there, and the room looked so much better she just couldn't hold her emotions in.

This has been so hard on her. She visits dad everyday for a few hours. She takes him outside and walks (pushes him in a wheelchair on his bad days) him around the grounds. Helps him eat his lunch and dinner. Plays music for him. And just keeps him company.

No matter how long I live in this life I don't know if I will ever see two people more bonded than my mom and dad. Dad lights up when mom walks in the room. He leans over and whispers to her, "I am so glad you're here. I love you so much. You are my whole life. You are so beautiful." They hug and hug and then cry. It is breathtaking and heartbreaking.

Even on the days when dad doesn't know who mom is he still loves her. He was walking down the hallway with a nurse when my mom came in through the doors. Dad turned to the nurse and said, "Oh, here she comes! She is so beautiful! I'm going to marry her someday!" My mom heard him say it and told him, "Oh Johnny, we're married already. We've been married for 49 years." Dad's face lit up and he responded, "Oh. That's good!" And then of course the sadness sets in and he says, "Oh honey, what has happened to us?" Then, more tears.

All of this, and so much more, has been swirling around in my head and it all showed itself on Saturday night. Todd and I went to his cousin's wedding and we had a great time. We talked and laughed with relatives. We had some drinks and of course we had some cake. I even got Todd out on the dance floor.

Then a song started to play. Remember When. The DJ asked all the married couples to get out on the dance floor and as they danced he began asking the couples to exit the dance floor based on how long they were married. The couple married the longest would be the last couple dancing. As I listened to the words of the song, and watched all of the couples married 40-50 years dancing, I couldn't help thinking about mom and dad. How they loved to dance together. How beautiful they looked. How enchanting they were to watch. And how they won't ever dance like that again. I couldn't hold back the tears. I headed off to the bathroom to recover only to come back to the father/daughter dance. I did well at first, and then really lost it. I hid my face in Todd's shoulder knowing I couldn't stop the floodgates. It all really hit me. I thought about my dad and I dancing together at my wedding. The greatest father/daughter dance ever. I thought about how much my dad would love to be at a wedding dancing and having fun. I thought about dad sleeping all alone in his room at the nursing home. I wondered if he was lonely. I wondered if he was scared. I wondered if his heart was breaking at that moment just as mine was. I wondered and wondered and wondered.

It is so difficult to stop these thoughts from bubbling to the surface. It doesn't do any good to dwell on it. And most of the time I am okay. I try not to think about it too much. I try to be positive. I'm trying. Because I really am lucky.

I am so lucky to have had my dad as long as I have. And I'm lucky he is still here. Because there are moments, however few, when I can still see his personality make an escape from his mind's prison. And he is daddy all over again. Briefly. But he is in there. And I can still hug him. I can still tell him I love him. And I know he hears me. His heart hears me even when his mind doesn't know me.

53 comments:

Cheri said...

Awwwwww. How touching. XOXOXO for you.

maggie's mind said...

My heart breaks for you, and I understand going about life mostly happy and doing fine but always with something so heavy and sad just under the surface because how can you not think about it? I don't have any magic words, but you and your family remain in my thoughts. I know I say the same thing every time, but it remains true. Such a devastating illness. Hang in there, feel sad when you need to and joy where you can - sounds like you've already got the balance down pretty darn well.

Anonymous said...

My Gramma had a bad case of dimensia before she died.It was unbearable for her not to recognize me,and my dad.I was heartbroken and cried a lot.I wished she would snap out of it and remember us again.I am so sorry for you.I know the pain.We did have to put her in a home and she died peacefully in her sleep,hopefully remembering us. I miss her sooo much.I hope my kids and grankids will not have to go thru that with me.I want to always remember.I ill pray for ya.I like your blog

wright said...

HUGS! I am sure - 100% - that your dad hears you and knows how much you love him.

Mom24 said...

Beautifully written post. (((Hugs))) It is so inadequate, but I am so sorry for what you are going through. Life is so unfair, in so many ways. My wish for you is that your good moments outweigh your bad. You're in my thoughts.

Rachel said...

Awe honey. I'm so sorry.
This was so beautifully written and so painful yet touching to read.
Many prayers for y'all.

wheelsonthebus said...

It is heartbreaking to be unable to help someone you love. Post about it every day if you like. That's why we're here.

wheelsonthebus said...

It is heartbreaking to be unable to help someone you love. Post about it every day if you like. That's why we're here.

A Buns Life said...

I'm so sorry that you are having to go through this and see your dad like this. Just remember to focus on the good times and how he was not so much on how he is now. It is so hard. I know. Hugs.

Dawn said...

I know there's nothing to say that can help you feel better but I just wanted to let you know how much I care and how sorry I am about all your family is going through right now. This was a beautiful post.

Wendy said...

Oh, this is so touching (and heartbreaking). This is a beautiful post. Hugs...

DysFUNctional Mom said...

Alzheimer's is such a terrible thing. It robs families of their loved ones. I think you're amazing for still being able to remain positive some of the time, and thankful for the little glimpses of your father.
xoxoxo

Julie Pippert said...

Kathryn, the bittersweetness of this has me all choked up and watery-eyed, really. I worry for you, for your mom, and for this wonderful love you all have in your family that is being tested this way. (hugs) and thank you for sharing this, as hard as it all must be.

lime said...

well, this blog is "seeking sanity" so i figure if it helps you to stay sane to pour out all the emotions you have in dealing with your dad's illness then you just dump it all out right here and your readers will offer a virtual shoulder.

it is testament to the wonderful love he has poured out on your mother and you that it is so difficult to watch where he is now. doesn't make it any easier, i know. i'm just glad your husband is supportive through all of this.

hugs

Elaine A. said...

I am so so sorry you are going through this. Continued prayers for all of your family but especially you, your mom and your father.

Thank God you have such beautiful memories of him...

Immoral Matriarch said...

XOXO :)

Stephanie said...

You are so lucky to have witnessed a love like that lasting so long. Your parents were, and still are, very lucky. This post made me cry. And remember all the things I am so thankful for in my life and my marriage. Thank you for that. I will keep your family in my prayers...

Mary Beth said...

Beautiful post - you are in my thoughts:) Your blog should be a spot to write anything - and know you've got tons of support out here, even if we can't send it face to face.

Kelley said...

I, too, cried through this post. I'm so sorry that your parents, and you, are going through this. I am losing my grandpa to Alzeimer's right now, and it is very hard to watch. He is turning back into a child right before our eyes, even though he is over 90 years old. It is truly heartbreaking to watch, and I'm sure it's heartwrenching to experience. Your love for your dad is flowing through this post, and it is beautiful.

anglophilefootballfanatic.com said...

I know this is hard on all three of you. And, you are all victims of your dad's illness. It's perfectly okay to vent and get it all out. You have a very full plate. We're always here when you need us.

imbeingheldhostage said...

My heart is breaking for you. It's hard enough to lose someone to death, but what you are going through-- I can't even fathom how hard it is. You should be posting about your Dad. And your Mom. It's who you are. Hugs!!!!!

Kelly said...

It has to be so hard to see your dad go through all of this and your mom for going through it with him. It just breaks me heart. Hang in there and post about your dad whenever you want. Just by reading about it, I can see all the love you feel for him.

mamachristina said...

I ran across your blog and my heart goes out to you, I have worked in long term care a lot and working in our alzheimers unit was the most difficult because we see hurting families like yours. God bless your family.

david mcmahon said...

I hear you. I understand you. We went through the same situation not so long ago.

God bless you and all your family

Nap Warden said...

Get it out here...We are all listening:)

Kristen said...

Kathryn, this is the one place where you should feel free to tell it how it is! All of us who read totally support you!

I think your parents are dancing, just in a new way. They might not be physically holding each other, but those hours they spend together are their new dance. It is still evident to all of us at least, how much your parents love one another!

I continue to pray, and hugs to you and your family! You are one strong girl! :)

Tonya said...

It is totally fine that you are writing about your dad. It is your blog ;) You will be glad that you have these memories of him written down.

Cara said...

Kathryn my heart goes out to you and your parents. You should write about your Dad all you want. Your post really shows the love both you and your Mom have for your Dad. He is a fortunate man to have such a wonderful family, some people who become sick are not that lucky. I will keep you and your parents in my prayers. Stay strong and fight the good fight!

Chaotic Joy said...

Oh Kathryn. I am new to your blog and your journey with your father and I am so sorry. I can't imagine how hard this must be for your family and I agree that you should feel free to talk about it here as much as you need to. Your parents love for each other through all of this is really inspirational. Thank you for sharing it with us.

suchsimplepleasures said...

what a touching post!
xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Kellan said...

Oh, I don't want to cry - but I cry. I want there to be hope and I know that this awful disease is so cruel and offers little hope. I can only hope that he does not suffer long. I'm sorry your mom is having to go through this too - it has got to be the hardest thing ever and I can tell through your words how much they love each other!! I hope he is not lonely either. I'm glad you brough him blankets - took care of him - you are a good daughter!

Take care, Sweetie - I will pray for your dad! Kellan

Sandi McBride said...

It took three tries to get through this...but it was worth it...maybe I needed a good cry
Sandi
ps
Prayers for your family are going out from our home to Gods

Crystal Jigsaw said...

That was a truly beautiful post, Kathryn. As you know I have recently written about my own dad and the fact that it was his birthday last week (thanks for visiting my blog btw). Our dads are incredibly important in our lives. You will always look at your own dad and see him as Your dad. It doesn't matter how poorly he is, how little he remembers, he will always be your dad and he will always love you. I don't know what else to say. This has touched me because of my own feelings to my dad. And I think about my dad everyday too. And I always will. Because I love him and he's my dad.

Best wishes, Crystal xx
P.S. Hope you don't mind, I've added you to my blogroll, I love your blog.

Family Adventure said...

Kathryn, I am sorry for your dad. I wish it didn't have to be this way. I wish they'd find a cure tomorrow - one that could restore your dad's mind. This is a horrible, sneaky disease.

Having said that, you and your family are coping with it with such strength and grace. Your writing about him is beautiful, and your love shines through so clearly. You honour your father and your relationship with him with these posts. Don't apologize for writing them - I thank you for sharing with us.

Heidi

Roxy Wishum said...

I don't know you, but I love you. And counter to the flow of most comments, I am not sorry for your circumstances. The events of your life have enabled you to see love at a depth that most can not even imagine. Your are truly blessed and your children's children will be blessed. And the children of many readers of your blog will be blessed because we each take a small bit of what you see and feel when we leave. Thank you. Really, I love you. It's o.k. with my wife.

Kathryn said...

Thank you all so much. Your kindness is truly overwhelming. I have been very emotional lately and having this outlet has really helped.
Your words have really comforted me. And I thank you. All!

Hilary said...

Such a tender and touching expression of your feelings. I'm so sorry for your troubles. Please accept a hug from across the blogosphere.

Motherhood for Dummies said...

you are so strong for your father. He is lucky to have a daughter like you. And you are so positive to think of the good moments.

Sandy C. said...

Oh Kathryn...I do hope you post and use this as your outlet as freely and openly as you can. My heart breaks for you, your parents and your family.

Although heart wrenching, your post is so well written from the heart and with so much love.

Many, many *hugs* to you.

Beck said...

Oh, Kathryn. I cried all the way through this. I am so sad for you.

Jenni said...

Sobbing...

I have no words to comfort you, but I'm so glad you share such a tender and heartbreaking part of yourself with us.

MamaGeek said...

Oh my heart aches for you. Do you know that each time I come here I sincerely wonder about your Dad. Please share all you need, I care. I sincerely care. Your Dad must be SO proud of you K.

ConverseMomma said...

Oh sweetie, what can I say? This post was beautiful. I am so sorry. I wish I could just give you a big hug and make it better. Much love and prayers for you and your whole family.

Chrissy said...

Lovely, lovely writing, Kathryn.

I am just so sorry that you are having to go through this. I can't imagine the grief that you must feel.

Laura said...

Hugs and support.

My hart aches for all of you.

painted maypole said...

i lov ethat you decorated his room (i bet your mother appreciates it too, with all the time she spends there) now take some music there, and dance with him. dance with him. and have your mom dance with him, too.

Fire Hunt said...

our prayers and thoughts go out for you and your family.

Bren said...

Oh, honey! How heartbreaking! You talk about your dad anytime you need to talk about him. My prayer for you is God's comfort and peace. *Big hugs*

Cyndi said...

I'm sorry and I'm praying.

Laura McIntyre said...

Oh hun how tough the situation must be for your family, your poor mum. It sounds like a marriage that all should be based on.
We are thinking of you and hoping that the good days outnumber the bad

abritdifferent said...

Kathryn,

I want to tell you something. I know that we don't know each other face-to-face, but I know your heart, and that is far more important to me than anything. Despite the fact that I haven't been reading you long (maybe since January or so? I forget), I am grateful that I began that journey. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul. It always resonates throughout your posts, especially about those your love and care about so much.

Talk about your Dad as much as you need to, this place isn't ours, it's yours, and let it be the place which is cathartic and healing for you. We will always listen. You may think you talk a lot about him, but you always put a refreshing slant on the subject matter; and more importantly, you are helping others more than you know.

I may just be another person, but I want you to know that I care about you. Keep writing.

Lisa said...

Oh Kathryn....
that made me cry....
use this blog as a way to vent those feelings & frustrations. We're all here to listen & lend a shoulder!

Shopping Blog said...
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Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson