I wanted to title this article a differently as initially, I wanted to share the experiences I had while helping my father as he went down the road of Alzheimer’s Disease. I wrote a few drafts along those lines, but in the end, decided not to publish them. I would rather end my (our) journey down this path in a different and somewhat happier light.
There are so many articles already published online about Alzheimer’s Disease. Anything from prevention, causes, various treatments, behavioral patterns, and so many other topics on this disease that are too numerous to mention. Many of the published works have been written by this or that professional, scientist, doctor, nurse and others in the field. In addition to these works are other articles published by those who either are currently dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease, or have already been down the path of this scourge which has affected so many.
After much thought on this topic, I made the decision not to share the experiences that we had as a family. It’s over now, my father recently passed after a long struggle. So where to go from here? Read on for the answer . . .
As my father’s disease progressed, and as his behavior patterns changed, it became necessary to move in and care for him for a period of time. There were many heartaches, and many tough challenges, but we endured. And I say this because of the love I have for my father. Let me tell you that the past month or so, and the endless moments spent with him and caring for him while he was going through all of the various changes afflicting him, were precious to me, more precious than mere words can adequately convey.
You might have noticed that I jump between “I” and “We” a lot as I am writing this. We came together as a family to care for our father, husband to our mother, and leader of our family. Each of us had a role to play in his care, and these roles frequently overlapped. It’s difficult at times not to drift between I, me, us, ours, and other words expressing what was happening.
There is no greater gift to receive than the gift of helping and loving someone so near and dear. Alzheimer’s greatly affected my fathers cognition, and his ability to grasp even the most rudimentary of things. There were times, when he recognized no one, other times, when he recognized perhaps a few of us, and still other times when it appeared, to us, that he was comfortable being around us.
Through all of that though, my feelings of love for this most wonderful man, my father, grew beyond bounds that that I could scarce imagine could exist. Here was a man, the greatest I ever knew, my father. Strong and proud, business man, teacher of all that is right, just and honorable. He was a man who, more than any other, taught me what is was to be a man. And at the end of his days, here was a man afflicted by one of, if not the worst, maladies that can affect a person. It was my privilege and honor to serve, assist and love him in his last need.
Alzheimer’s Disease is a terrible thing to endure. It may be that there will be a cure one day in a distant future. There are many holistic measures that can possibly prevent, or at the least, lessen the severity of the progress of this curse. But for today, and for some time to come, there appears to be nothing on the table for an end to this most awful disease.
We were so fortunate to have had the help of a very loving and caring health care team that came to his aid. Without their expertise, love and concern, things would have been much worse. When his condition became so dire that we were not able to adequately care for his needs, we placed him in a memory care facility. One afternoon, he quietly went to sleep and never woke. His nurse was by his side at the time of his passing. I can tell you that as he passed, there was a look of piece about him, all pain and confusion were erased. The long sleep began.
Thank you for reading my friends. I wish you all peace in your lives.