Friday, July 12, 2013

Oh, how I love thee.

Last Saturday was another visit with dad. I dread those days. I wake in the morning knowing it's the day and dreading that time. Mostly, I dread the way we drive down there, we walk in the door, we search him out, and we cross our fingers, pray our prayers, and hope to God it's a good day. Then the dread melts into another emotion completely. 

Sometimes it's white hot sadness burning a hole in my little heart and tracking its way down my face in silent, salty, drippy tears. Others it's pure, unadulterated grief physically aching inside every cell of my body as we wander the halls as complete strangers. And still others, there's the sadness, the grief, that lie under a light, slightly sick sense of humor as he shows us his many "skills" -namely, push-ups, furniture moving, and, like always, eating.

This week was a new, different emotional experience. There was joy. It was deep within and didn't look as joy usually does. But it was present. And that is different


We arrived with the breakfast with dad essentials: a morning bun and vanilla latte. (He's still got good taste folks) But we were later than normal. We sat through lunch with his fellow residents and enjoyed the community of sickness within which he lives. Truth be told: we relished the comfort of experiencing and witnessing the vastness of memory disease. 

Dad was friendly, sweet, and showy. His table mates are far more communicative than he, but one is bossy and difficult. The other is kind and quiet, but a party boy if you get him talking about something he deems fun. And dad, he makes everyone -patient or staff- laugh. Just like I remember him. He ate. We chatted. And there was silence amongst us. A silence filled by the strange noises and chatter of the other diners instead of worries, unspoken prayers, and fretting. A much-welcomed change for us

We walked the halls. Like always. But this time, instead of losing my resolve little by little, lap by lap; I was filled. How could I be anything but overflowing watching the two men I love walk hand in hand? 


Don't get me wrong. Dementia can go fuck itself. And then get hit by a train. A high speed, bullet type train that has a magical reverse and backs up and runs it over again and again and again. And then a swarm of turkey vultures will come and pick dementia's organs and eyes and brain out in the most peckingly and painful of ways. 

But, these glimmers are sublime. And hope-filled. And a reminder that while the disease makes me bitter, angry, and ugly: it births beauty in my life which births joy in my heart. 

Dad, Jason: I love thee. Deep, emotional love that words cannot do justice. Love that can't be spoken, only felt and seen. My life-long men, oh, how I love thee. 

I saw God's goodness and his truth delivered in those moments. And basked in it the days after.
"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
-Psalm 27:13-14
Oh, how He loves me.

8 comments:

  1. I haven't seen my dad in over 2 years. He's been in an adult family home (after being in and out of nursing homes and a geropsychiatric ward at the hospital) for almost a year, and they're fixing to move him to a new (and hopefully permanent) one later this month, if all goes well. I'm planning on visiting later this year...I'm terrified. For all the reasons you described above.

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  2. Beautifully written lovebug! That picture of Jason and your dad makes my eyes misty! How beautiful, indeed!
    With God, there is joy in everything; because in everything, God is right there with us. :)

    <3 Chrissy

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  3. i love this. I can relate totally. My grandma has dementia and as time goes on she gets worse but happy. She doesn't know me, but she "knows" me. She knows she knows me, but has no idea how. When I read about your dad, I feel for you and i get tears because I know how hard it is. How you long for them to remember you, or have a good day. I feel like same way you feel, and whenever I go to my dads house, I tend to wanna not go to her home because it makes me so sad. We can only pray that there is some kind of miracle and they remember us from time to time.

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  4. You are a beautiful and gifted writer sweet Amber. I never even attempted to find the words or emotions I felt with my father's long ordeal with Alzheimer's..... until now with you and your family who I love so dearly ( along with your dad) as you go through your own sad process. There are no answers to the questions this I know but I can say that God is the truth in all things and all we have to do is remember He is in control, not us. Keeping it simple and trusting that it is beyond my control or understanding helped me just love and accept this is what God decided would be the path for my dad and our family. Still, I never really could say I was thankful!
    I so understand your perspective as a daughter....so does your dad :)
    Xo

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  5. You are a beautiful and gifted writer sweet Amber. I never even attempted to find the words or emotions I felt with my father's long ordeal with Alzheimer's..... until now with you and your family who I love so dearly ( along with your dad) as you go through your own sad process. There are no answers to the questions this I know but I can say that God is the truth in all things and all we have to do is remember He is in control, not us. Keeping it simple and trusting that it is beyond my control or understanding helped me just love and accept this is what God decided would be the path for my dad and our family. Still, I never really could say I was thankful!
    I so understand your perspective as a daughter....so does your dad :)
    Xo

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  6. this made my eyes well up. that photo of your dad and your husband is just beyond priceless. lots of hugs and prayers being sent your way.

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  7. I came across this post today, I know what your fam has been going thru and I just wanted to take the time to read thru your beautiful words. Both of my dad's grandparents (who were basically his parents), got dementia and watching my dad struggle thru those visits and those days and those hopes that somehow things would get better and prayers for good days instead of the bad ones was so heartbreaking. There is nothing that makes it easier, but the moment you spoke about in here in which you felt joy is something you can grab and hold onto as deeply as you can. I pray for peace in you and your family's sweet hearts. Hang in there and keep writing.

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  8. Such beautiful words to describe such a ravishing disease and the pain it causes emotionally to everyone involved. I know how you feel I have a mother that we have been nurturing as best as we can with Parkinsons and Altzheimers for a very long time. She is also in a nursing/rabilitation facility and is near the end of her illnesses. Soo heart breaking but I can often see the work of the Lord in all of this just like you. Keep up the faith and try to look at all the positives in each moment. We do not know why things happen but keep trusting in God.

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