When I first started thinking about writing a blog about Alzheimer’s and Dementia and my poor mum, one of my worries was my dad. How would he take it? Would he be upset about our private family problems being published to friends, family and even strangers? Would he be cross with me for sharing my darkest thoughts and my deepest fears? Would he be angry or upset about me sharing my mum’s new and constantly changing vulnerabilities?
He’s a very private man my dad and he asked me recently if he should be writing to some of Mum’s old friends, the ones she doesn’t see very often – people who send a card at Christmas and an occasional postcard in the summer – those people. I said no, not to put himself through that yet. I thought he had enough to deal with trying to get through each day without tasking himself with being the bearer or such shit news to acquaintances from long ago, up and down the country. They can wait, I told him. They’ll find out at some point. Don’t put yourself through that just now. The people who need to know, know.
But then I do this – I am not sending a personal message to my mum’s old squash and tennis pals. I am not writing a letter to her old dancing chums from way back when. Oh no, I am putting my mum’s story out on the bloody World Wide Web! Available for everyone to read and know about her very rapid decline into the hell of her cerebral dysfunction. I really thought that he would take it badly.
He didn’t. Yet again, my father, the kindest of men is giving of himself and of his pain. Not only did he give me the green light (“keep writing your thoughts Sarah”), but he has asked me to put on some of his words, which I have done below, and will gladly continue to do for as long as he wants. If this blog can help others, then I am happy. If it can be a help to my dad and be an outlet for his frustrations, pain, love and hope, then that is even better.
So, here it is – my dad’s first blog post. The first, I hope of many. I am so proud of him and am in awe of his strength and courage.
Another day has begun once again. As I watch the sun rising over the soft Border hills behind our lovely home and garden and whilst I sip my cup of tea, I ponder our future together. Instead of an energetic, fulfilling retirement I am really faced with looking after the love of my life.
I await Carol, one of the home care young women, who come in morning and evening to help Jane. I can’t praise them enough for their patience and dedication. Our miniature schnauzer puppy, Maggie, wonders why she is not allowed upstairs, or is not getting her lead on yet.
Yes! There is the doorbell and some help!
A late breakfast, a dash around the golf course with Mags and home again to find her settled. “Where have all the children gone”? she asks.
I’m not sure what this day will bring, but I can only try my best. One wonders whether Jane will be content doing very little today or perhaps she may like a run in the car, or a walk in the sunshine. Or, perhaps she wants to go home to her ‘own house’ or with tears in her eyes will wish her Stephen would come back to her.
It gives me great comfort Sarah, that you have put your love and kind thoughts on “paper”. Mum is such a special, wonderful wife with great talents and a mother to 3 amazing children. A 12-hour day, 6-days-a-week, teaching ballroom dancing in her early years and then a 24-hour day looking after a busy GP and bringing up our little monsters. Years of hard work and dedication, opportunity and love….. and now we find ourselves in a life of uncertainty and chaos. In her own world she is lost and lonely with only distant memories alive. However, from time to time I see my dearest Jane shining through which gives me hope that I will be able to look after her for as long as possible. Thank goodness she knows our children, who phone almost daily and our 8 grandchildren. For now.
I’m not going to accept the “ground hog day” concept that things will be the same every day, with confusion and delusions dragging us both down. We are going to try and fight this dreadful cerebral dysfunction and maybe we’ll breathe again.