I have now bought a car without my dad. It wasn't the first or last thing I'll do in life where I feel cheated, that he should have been involved. I think the experience would have been a little smoother with him along. But that's immaterial, because he wasn't there. Because Alzheimer's stole him from me.
My mom and I spent a couple of hours the other day cleaning out my husband's Santa Fe and making into MY Santa Fe. My dad, of course, sold us that Santa Fe, back when he still had a functioning brain, so it is a tenuous link to him. Mom and I did a pretty crappy job cleaning the car's insides. Not much better on the outside. Cleaning cars was Dad's thing. He always offered to wash my car, or at least clean my windows and my dashboard, right up to when he got taken away by the police. Mom and I were joking about my father, and how he would have come outside and taken over and the car would have been spotless inside and out. Instead I ended up taking it to a detailing place and paying an outrageous sum of money for someone to do it uncaring when my dad would have done as good a job for free out of love. At one point I said to my mom, "Tell him to get his lazy ass down here and help us with this car!" and she said, "I wish it could happen."
It's weird that we say similar things about my grandpa and my yard (he had the greenest of green thumbs) but I never feel cheated out of my grandpa. He was 70 when he died of cancer (I was 19). I miss him, but it's different. I feel like he got a good run. My dad was 3 years younger but his last years were bad. My grandpa had a couple of bad months--he was diagnosed in April and died in July.
When my dad got diagnosed with Alzheimer's, I don't think I really UNDERSTOOD. I cried, but I didn't know yet what I was crying for, or how many tears would be in my future. I started this blog, not knowing it would be a roadmap for so many other people on the same journey.
When Terry Pratchett got diagnosed with AD a week or so after my dad died, I was hysterical. Because by then, I KNEW. I had seen the end of the road and I hated (hate) to think of the mind that made Discworld going down that path.
Today, via Facebook, one of my oldest friends contacted me. We've been friends since 7th grade, almost 30 years. Her mom, who is about the same age as my mom, just got the word: Alzheimer's. Worse, my friend lives in another state than her mom. And she, like me, is an only child. Oh, my friend, I wish I could spare you this pain.
My father's 1253-day journey through Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and my feelings about it. Now my aunt appears to have dementia, so this is her chronicle as well. All material is copyrighted by Gevera Bert Piedmont (except where noted and where quoted from other sources); please do not repost without permission.
"The cost of Alzheimer's? Everything you ever owned, everything you ever thought you would get, and things you never even thought about."
"It's a long, slow slide into oblivion, with no brakes."
"If this was a paper journal, the ink would be running with tears."
"Imagine a really beautiful, perfect statue, left out in the wind and rain for centuries, to be worn away, until it’s only retained the shape of a person, not any of the individuality. That’s what Alzheimer’s did to my father. It wore him away, all the sharp edges and crisp points that made him Bob, who loved his family and his pets and his raspberry bushes, and turned him into a fearful person with a vague and confused stare."
"It's a nasty disease, surrounded by shadows and small, largely unseen tragedies."--Terry Pratchett
This is a reminder that Alzheimer's disease affects real people, real families. My dad wasn't a monster, just a man whose brain was slowly eaten by a terrible disease.