Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dementia is still... Demented.

(dementia is hard to look at in photos. so you won't see it here. 
it's not how we want to remember him... or how we want others to remember him)

It's been a while since I've talked of Dad and dementia.
So here's an update.
**If you came by for light-hearted... You might very well be in the wrong place today.**

He's back at the facility.
After spending a month in a Senior Behavioral Health unit.
(In case you didn't know, that's a nice name for Old People Psych Ward)
*Being PC is nice, but doesn't make this any easier, so let's call it what it is folks. 
Before: he was restless, frustrated, difficult to interact with...
After: he is calmed, peaceful, a joy to be around.

Lately, there's this nagging thought in the back of my mind.
You see, when he wasn't behaving I had convinced myself it was because he was dying.
Like he wanted to go out kicking. And making trouble.
Then he didn't die.
And now he behaves and is kind.
In my head, this means he isn't dying anymore.
I know it doesn't work this way -behaving and dying aren't mutually exclusive.

At the same time I'm worried he isn't dying anymore,
I realize it's my dad that's dying.
When he was mean and disinterested and a busy-body, he was Pete, but he didn't remind me of Dad.
Now he's him.
He's the man who taught me to ride a bike (though I insisted as a child I taught myself),
The same man who taught me to "feather a clutch" (Still don't know what the hell that means),
The same man who taught me the construction business and how to hold my own within it.
And I'm watching him disappear, little by little.
Because he's dying.
Though some days I think he isn't.

It's like we're caught in a sick nightmare-dream scene
And we've got to keep pinching each other to remind ourselves this is reality.
We can't seem to run or walk or move...
While the world and life keep flying by challenging us to keep up.
Thankfully we've got a God who keeps the wheels on.
And a village of care-filled friends, neighbors, family who are pushing us when we've run out of fuel.

Who knew dementia would get my brain all confused and twisted and upside down?
Thank goodness for a God that's handling the timing and planning of it.
Because right now getting through my day worrying and thinking about Dad's life
(and subsequent death) can feel exhausting and near impossible.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? 
Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care."
-Matthew 10:29
One of my favorite sermons (that addresses so much of this heavy stuff ) is here
Do yourself a favor and check it out.  

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