Monday, October 7, 2013

I Wanted a Birthday Party With Popsicles.

The hardest part about dementia is I just keep learning. Every time I think "I'm there, at that point where it's all figured out." Another lesson comes my way. His birthday was no exception. We celebrated the day of Popsicle a week ago -a birthday we really weren't sure he'd have.

And, I wasn't sad about his birthday. I felt like I should be. But I wasn't. Instead, I found myself in a state of want.

I ran inside to go to the bathroom and, since it's just own the hall, decided to swing by his room. Where it smelled like the rest of the residents and no longer like my father. Where the pictures we brought him were in on bedside tables and the floor and no longer the walls where they belong. Where I imagine him sleeping and snoring softly though it may not look so. I stepped gingerly around the room, not wanting to disturb his space -not that he'd notice-, taking in each nuance of his new, decreased state of mind.

As I did so, the want grew. A want I didn't know I had. 

I wanted his birthday to be sweet with blurry edges of sadness. I wanted it to look like a whole lot of love bordered with some ragged heartbreak. I wanted to feel like that family we were before dementia with a touch of the rough disease.

As I stood in his room, I wanted a piece of him. 

I wanted to pick up his stuffed bear -from one of his many hospital visits- and claim it for myself and my one day kids who I pray have his blue eyes and dimpled chin. I wanted to wrap myself in one of his jackets and smell him in -a musky man smell that is a long time gone. I wanted to feel his deep love in a sweet, yet strong, embrace.

As I walked back to join the family outside in the garden, I realized I wasn't going to get what I wanted. I wasn't going to get it because what I have is more. 

His birthday was full of laughs and dancing moves. Off-key birthday songs and lots of cake. Laps around the yard hand in hand. The pieces of him I want to hold in my hands will be lost, destroyed or fade; but the bits of him, the big chunks of him that fill my heart are rich with lessons learned, love shared, father-daughter fun. That smell I wish I had back is forever gone, but those moments when I seem to catch a whiff of it on the evening air -oh, how they take me there.

I didn't get what I wanted. I have what I need. And that's enough for me. 

19 comments:

  1. This brought tears to my eyes this morning girl. So heart felt and deep. Prayers are with you always.

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  2. Reading this makes me so misty. I just want to hug you right now. I can't imagine how this feels or how you stay so positive in light of this sadness. You are amazing.

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  3. You are so strong Mrs. Thomas. I envy you for that. I wish I had that same strength when I visit my grandma.

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  4. Virtual hugs girl. I can't even imagine what you're going through; but you're positive attitude is so inspiring! Prayers are with you lady.

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  5. Devastating, yet so tender, so loving,so caring and more importantly sharing.
    You're such a brave woman Amber,
    here I sit crying my heart out for you and your Dad,
    I've had my share of the sadness of death at my hearts door.
    And I realize, how sore my heart is still after all these years.
    I so relate to your situation, and my heart goes out to you.


    Bless You Dearest Amber

    Val

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  6. I find myself once again shedding tears as I read for you and for my own reasons. Your continued strength through this is inspiring. Hugs and prayers to you.

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  7. Prayers are so meaningful. So deeply encouraging and so meaningful. <3

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  8. You so misty. You so lovely. You so sweet.

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  9. Popsicle taught us humor despite circumstance. And so we find the sick and twisted humor in all this. Oh my soul.

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  10. Prayers make my world go round girl. Literally, I can't begin to express the way they encourage my sometimes faint soul. That and laughing keep me going in this ugliness!

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  11. Val,


    Thank you. For your honesty. For the way you relate. Oh, just so much thanks. Somehow, knowing someone else feels it, knows it, understands it all in some way is encouraging to my soul.

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  12. Oh tears. They're so sneaky and so sad. Thank you for prayers, they're truly what manage to keep my heart doing some days. When the world feels so heavy and I can't understand what's next prayers remind me there's a plan and a purpose to our struggles.

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  13. There just aren't word pretty girl for how much I admire you.


    -Kate
    www.theflorkens.com

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  14. This post brought tears to my eyes - your words are so filled with love and your strength is beautiful. *hugs*

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  15. I can relate so much to this. It was my grandma who had dementia. I'm glad you were able to celebrate his birthday. Cherish all the moments. Your positive attitude is such an inspiration. I'm keeping you in my prayers!

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  16. Laughter really is the best! Can't have a world without that!

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  17. Dementia is so ugly and so hard. But, somehow, God is redeeming the situation far beyond I ever thought it possible. :)

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  18. Just a sweet smile and hug for you dear friend.

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  19. I thought that was Adam writing! :) Oh Kate, you know how sweet and lovely I believe you are! :)

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