My 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.