I visited mom and dad today. It became increasingly evident that dad’s symptoms are increasing.
Dementia is a horrible disease. There isn’t much that frightens me but this disease, getting this disease does. I saw it steal the personality of my grandmother and my great aunt. With my grandmothers dementia I was shielded from it. She lived for a short time with my parents until the disease progressed and a nursing home became the best option for her treatment and quality of life. A couple of months before she died, she sat with me in the atrium. I sat quietly reading the paper. My grandmother staring off into space as if was no where to be seen. Feeling like I was being watched, I lowered the paper and looked at my grandmother. She was staring at me. I could see in her eyes that she recognized me. With all of the clarity of her pre-Alzheimer’s life, she asked, “Christopher, how are you? How are Marissa and Stephen?” After she asked those questions, she retreated back into Alzheimer’s. She would never emerge from that darkness again. Two months later I would sit and hold her hand at 6 AM as she took her last breaths. Two years later I watched my father-in-law die on the same nursing home of the same horrible disease. Watching the man who taught me so much and helped me build my home sit and have no awareness of those around him was difficult.
I’m about to get an education that I’ve tried to avoid.