Now that my brother and his wife have headed back to Toronto, I’ve had some time to process my dad’s diagnosis that we found out about last week. Today’s post will be brief, since my soul is overwhelmed at what lies ahead for me, and him. I’m his POA, but more than that, I’m his eldest daughter, second born of all six of his children, and my heart is heavy.
I’ve always said, the most terrible way to have your life end must be with the crumbling of the mind. To me, it truly seems like the cruelest way to spend your last days. You’re living in this body, you don’t know. Surrounded by people who know you, but you no longer have any connection, or recollection of. Who is it worse for, the person losing their memories, or those left behind to watch it unfold??
I’ve witnessed friends go through it with in-laws, and parents, but to date we’ve never had a family member lose themselves due to Alzheimer or Dementia. Now here I stand, trying to process the fact that this is the way I will lose my father. My heart is broken. I just didn’t think he would go this way. I figured it would be his heart, since he has issues, or something related to all of his years of drinking. Not like this. I’m not ready for it.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot that my dad did wrong over the course of our forty seven year tumultuous father daughter relationship, and I’m sure on the one hand there is plenty that he’s done to me, my brothers, and my mother that he wishes, he/we could all forget. And as it turns out, he’ll at least get that wish. For when the day comes, the one that will be his last day, he won’t remember a damn thing about his time here on earth with us.
For him it might be the greatest blessing, to go out without memory of the affairs he had, the alcoholism that nearly destroyed four lives, if it hadn’t been for the strength of our mother who gave us something else to aspire to be. Perhaps this is his reward for becoming sober almost twelve years ago. The devastation that came at the hand of the bottle, for him, will be a thing of the past that he will never have to think about again.
In a strange and twisted way, when I think about his diagnosis of Dementia, this aspect of it brings me some joy. You see, my dad is a sensitive person, who still to this day apologizes for the damage he caused. He wishes each and every day that he had a better upbringing, that he himself hadn’t been raised by two alcoholics. But his lot was his lot, and for the longest time, fifty four years of time, he allowed himself to be a victim of his circumstance. Then he suddenly woke up. He realized that he was repeating the exact patterns with his second family that he had done with his first, and he found within himself, not only the desire but the strength to put down the bottle. And so, he’s been blessed with twelve good, sober years. Good years that he soon, will also no longer remember.
Take the good with the bad they say, I guess this even applies in matters of the mind…