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Out of Town Visitors

January 14, 2014

I’m able to see Dad most days even if only for a few minutes. I watch each change in his ability that occurs. I can slowly adjust to each loss. It’s easier that way, it’s all so gradual. I try to explain to family and Dad’s close friends. I try to assure that they are aware of the gradual march of Alzheimer’s. But I have learned that there is really no way to help another person adjust at a distance.

My older brother came to visit Dad a few months ago. He brought along a picture of our parents holding him at two months old. He wanted to share that picture with Dad and help Dad recognize their relationship. Unfortunately, Dad had no recollection of the young couple in the picture or the 65 year old man who had come to visit. Mark quickly realized that his visit would be very one sided and was really for his benefit, not our Dad’s.

More recently my sister came to visit. I think she was braced for the intellectual changes, but the physical changes really hit her hard. It had been 2 years since Karen had seen Dad. As we walked into the Inn Karen saw Dad across the room. He was sitting in his wheelchair curled forward looking at his hands in his lap, the frail little man that he has become. It was more than Karen could take. She walked right out the back door and sat crying in the garden. She took a little time to adjust before coming inside to sit with Dad, hold his hand and talk to him.

I realize that no matter what I do to decrease the impact we need to each experience our loss. It is so hard to watch.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 14, 2014 10:06 pm

    And it is the one who is the daily caregiver who, at the end, will receive the true gift of compassion and love. And we, as caregivers, will never be the same again. Your reflections and thoughts show the depth of this new relationship between you and your dad. You embrace the new person evolving before you instead of holding on to the one before Alzheimer’s. By dignifying this new life, you don’t negate the new person in front of you. You are an amazing son.

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