Dementia is a cruel disease

Some days are remembered because of the way we felt, whether we are happy or sad we can recall the moment. I remember feeling safe and comfortable when I met Wally for the first time. Feeling blessed to be a mom when I gave birth to each child and saying goodbye to my brother for the last time; feeling lost and sad.

I even remember when we took this family photo, at about five years old… I did not like the stockings. Lol. And on this day, feeling hurt… and at a loss for words. My father has dementia and living in a healthcare facility, unable to see his wife of 65 years as often as he would like; is more than he wants to endure. I don’t blame him; it’s a brutal time in life.

When, in the doctors’ office my father, forgetting where he lives, thinks he’s going home. I have the unpleasant task of telling him the van will be here soon to pick him up. In a calm, neutral tone tells me: Jesus Christ knows you are not taking good care of me: when you die, you will be going to hell. Had he been yelling I would have been able to accept his anger, knowing it is his usual demeanor. Not this time, he was calm and sad… all I could do was sit and listen to him; I am not helping him, and he is unable to forget he is married for 65 years. I understand Dad; I wish it were not like this either… I am sorry you feel this way. He just looks at me with an empty look… Gut-wrenching; my heart hurts.

As transportation loads his wheelchair up he asks, are you coming to see me at home today? no…not today Dad. That’s a shame, he said, I would be happy to see you.

As the van door shuts I walk to my car; the cruelty of dementia is more than I can bear today. Some days we want to replay in our head over and over… this is not one of them. I am not feeling my “Old Lady Heat” today.

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  • June 15, 2017