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.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Today I was sitting in a restaurant, eating, and a text message came in on my phone. I thought it was my husband responding to an earlier message from me, and it wasn't. It was from a really good friend of mine, whose adult son has cancer, and the message was to let me know that his time had come, any minute now. Maybe even as I'm writing this, who knows? The second part of the message was to ask me to spiritually be part of her son's transition team. She also asked for my dad's help.
I was sitting there just crying over my food and the waitress came over and though the food was wrong (again, it had already been remade once) and I told her what I'd just learned and she said "Do you need a hug?" and she hugged me. It was so sweet.
I'm so sad for my friend, but at the same time I am so honored that she took time out from being with her son for the last time to think of me and to invite me in. And invite my dad! If there is ever a time in the world to be completely selfish, it's when you're watching someone you love die. There is no room for anyone else there. And she let me in. She asked me in. I'd go there if I could, but she's hundreds of mile away, and she's got 7 other children plus some grandchildren--no room for me to be there physically, that's for sure. A transition team is basically anyone who is there, in body or spirit, to help someone transition between worlds. You could work with women in labor, welcoming their new babies to this world, or with the dying, saying goodbye.
I wrote back and told her of course I'd be there with her in spirit and I assigned my dad and grandma and all the pets and whoever else is up there to welcome her son home with open arms, to bring him into the Elsewhere Bar and teach him what's what.
I'm so sorry for her loss. Not having any children, I can't imagine the pain of losing one. But I know how much it hurts to lose a beloved pet, and I'm sure it's 100x worse if it's your human child. She had sent me a message in the fall saying that he was doing really bad and in a lot of pain, and that he, and everyone else, was praying for his pain to end, for him to die. I know that feeling all too well, and the combination of relief and grief that will follow upon his death.
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.