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Saying Goodbye…Again

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy dad is dying.  It’s very likely that he’ll pass over in the next few days.  As many of you who read my blog know, my writing is extremely personal as I hope my story will help someone else who might be dealing with a similar issue.  But it’s also cathartic for me.   Journaling is my ultimate therapy.

My dad has had Alzheimer’s for many years and it’s a horrible disease.  His Alzheimer’s was compounded by a stroke he suffered 18 months ago.  I hear this is the ultimate evil.  I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that people who have been given a short amount of time to live can make miraculous recoveries.  With Alzheimer’s that isn’t the case.  It’s a slow decline into an abyss of darkness.

I’ve watched my mom care for my dad over the past eight years and marvel at her strength, her devotion and her love.  Professional caregivers have said to her that what she’s done is beyond normal caregiving.  But, for my mom, this is just what a spouse does.  I’ve worried about her for years as I’ve watched the strain of caring for my father take its toll on her.  She’s never complained but her life became dedicated to caring for him.  It’s been a Herculean effort as for the past year, she has had to do everything for him.

Three weeks ago he fell and broke his pelvis.  While in the hospital he contracted pneumonia.  He was moved to rehab last Monday, still on antibiotics and oxygen.  In my heart I knew this was the end but my mom has not for a moment stopped her loving care.  Every day she’s called me saying “He looks a little better today.”  That was until three days ago.  At that point, she knew.

I admire my mom beyond words.  She allowed herself to live and care for him on her terms.  And now, even though she’s sad, she’s at peace.  She knows she’s done everything and she loves him enough to let him go.  I know, that in her heart, she said goodbye to him last night.

For me, I said goodbye over a year ago.  While my dad recognized me – perhaps – I knew that Alzheimer’s Disease had already taken the man I knew.  My sadness came years ago while my mom continued to believe.  Since this summer I’ve supported my mom but I wasn’t able to buy into her optimism.  For me, he was already gone.

But this morning I’m going to go say goodbye…again.  I love you Dad.


  1. Thanks for sharing this Alison. I will be saying good bye to my Dad for the 3rd time when I visit him in April. Alzheimer’s is most definitely a horrible disease. I can definitely relate to the feeling that “he is already gone”.

    My mom took care of my Dad at home for much longer than most would. We (her 8 children) had to intervene when her own health became a concern last year and she could no longer physically lift him. He is in an excellent skilled care facility and my mom spends about 40 hours a week with him. She is so grateful to now be able to spend quality time with him rather than caring for him. Though he does not talk much, she is content just being with him & holding his hand. They have been married for 55 year and are truly an inspiration.

    I wish you and your family the best. You are an inspiration as well.

  2. Thanks for sharing. Seeing the love between two people going through this terrible disease can be a lesson to all of us. I’m so glad that you were able to help your mom.


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