wine on the keyboard

Alzheimer’s

World Alzheimer’s Day

by Kay~Kacey on 9/21/2015

I haven’t blogged in forever. It was just too hard to, I don’t know, share. To be honest, I didn’t want the photos of Mom to fall off the last post to my blog. But, I turn now to a tribute to my father. A man suffering greatly from the horrible disease of Alzheimer’s.

He was the kindest man. Honest to a fault. Strong in his faith. A wicked, dry sense of humor. He gave of his time and his money–quietly, behind the scenes — because he believed it was the right thing to do. He was brilliant–and down to earth.

Now, he’s…lost. He no longer has Mom as his touchstone to keep him grounded. He’s often agitated, and I fear some of the workers at his nursing home just see him as the crotchety old patient, not the man behind the disease.

But, Dad, we still see you. The man who is still there, somewhere, hidden behind the cruelty of fate. We visit and bring your favorite donuts. Though I’m sure ten seconds after we left you yesterday, you had no idea we had been there with you.

Family

But, I love you fiercely and forever, Dad. You are not this disease. I will drive in every week to visit, and talk to you about your life and family. We’ll look at photos and take walks. I’ll bribe you to eat with your favorite foods. I’ll walk down those damn halls of the nursing home, week and after week. The halls that make me weak in the knees as I enter them each visit, ranting to the universe about the unfairness that is your life now.

Blank look of Alzheimer's

And I thank God for my cousin. Chris the Girl. The daily constant in Dad’s life. The caretaker who goes to visit Dad every day and keeps him connected to life as much as possible. I don’t know what I would do without her being there when I can’t.

matt-wedding-3657

It’s been a long, hard battle to this point. Sometimes my sister and I have to play “tag, you’re it” and take a break. It is stressful. Impossible. Yet, no one has a choice. Not Dad. Not us.

But this is how I think of him, still. Laughing. Cracking jokes.

10690109_10204953425499318_6681952912982125895_n

Or teasing my mother.

Dad and Mom

That is my father. The real man. The man behind the Alzheimer’s mask.

#freepoppy

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An 89th Birthday Party

by Kay~Kacey on 2/16/2015

Ah, such a bittersweet day it was yesterday. Dad’s 89th birthday. Rare moments of following along with the conversation. Lots of quiet moments. Please indulge me the over abundance of photos. Love this man.Dad with Alzheimer's

 

Notice my mom’s newly painted fingernails in this next photos. I love that she is still vain enough at 88 to want her nails to look pretty all the time.Mom's new polish

 

My parents sat quietly a lot of the time. Mom just listening to the chatter of her kids and grandkids, Dad kind of lost in his own world with so much going on around him. My boys. I love them so much for coming out to Dad’s party. Doting on Mom. Telling her how nice her new room at the nursing home is. (She loved showing off her room to everyone) Talking to Dad. Hugging him. I have so much love for these boys and their wives, it makes my heart burst. birthday celebration

 

Dad is so quiet most of the time. Often, I’m not sure what he is taking in. What he hears and processes. Is he scared in his confusion?quiet haze of alzheimer's

 

He does better with one on one conversations, like here where Michael was trying to get Dad to start eating his cake. I’m pretty sure Dad had forgotten his piece of cake was there in front of him.grandfather and grandson

 

Mom, bless her heart, enjoyed a little sip of winey with her meal. She still enjoys her wine… That–strangely– makes me feel better about her…mom and her glass of wine

 

This photo melts my heart. My dad laughing at the card the boys got for him. It was a card that kept unfolding until it became poster sized. It just tickled my dad.A rare smile

 

Ah, that rare, rare Alzheimer’s smile. Nothing better in the world.laughing at the card

 

Below, he is looking at the photo book that we made him from scanned photos and slides that I found at their house. Photos of when he was growing up in Adair, Iowa. Trips he took with his parents. Photos of him in the Navy. Photos from when he was first married to Mom.

Here he is looking at the front photo on the book…a picture of the house he grew up in. “Hey, I know that place.” See the smile and recognition on his face?

reading the memory book

I am enthralled with his hands here. I don’t know why. Here Dad is looking at a photo of his father.

Dad's hands

 

If only we could have more moments of his smile. His recognition. The spark of life in his eyes. Ah, Alzheimer’s, you are a mean, mean beast and I hate what you’ve done to this kind, gentle man.

Happy 89th birthday, Dad. Not the life we had imagined for you for your “golden” years. So glad to still see your smile.

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