Momentary Sanity

by z.lynn

I don’t really remember how the old saying goes but it basically makes reference to how it takes a lot to make a grown man cry. Yet, tonight, I saw my dad cry for the first time ever in all of my 37 years.

In his reality, he felt undeniably certain that my husband and I were about to do him in. He thought that we had him shut up in a box or a casket yet he could get up and walk around and reach out and touch us. He said that we planned to put him in our truck and set it aflame even though I was sitting right next to him, in the truck. His mind told him that I put something in his food and drink to make him ‘see things’. This is the face of dementia.

Although, on August 6th, last month, he denied that he ever knew me, I felt that he could care for himself. Despite getting hardly no sleep each night always holding to the fear that he would climb up and fall or tumble down the set of 15+ stairs in my home, I thought he would be just fine. Even though he had fallen down and broken his wrist and elbow week before last, when tripping over a huge shopping bag that he’d placed next to him, while trying to find this invisible item on the floor, I thought I could help him. I just want to believe.

It tore at my whole heart and soul to hear him cry so loudly and inconsolably that I was sure that my neighbors 3 doors down could hear. And to know that his tears and pain were caused by the false belief that I wanted to harm him was unfathomable to me. I broke down.

I tried to reason with him the other night…why would I bring you out to my house and take care of you day and night if I wanted to hurt you? Why would I lose sleep, lose my sanity, lose my cool, lose my empathy, lose my mind…if I didn’t love you and want the best of health for you? Why would I allow you to call me out of my name when I’m trying to help you and you think that I’m doing it wrong or that I’m putting something in your medicine and food? Why would I, being the germophobic that I am, allow you to wear your only-God-knows-how-dirty-sneakers across my beige carpet? (One word – splatter. Ewww.) Why would I still keep you and care for when I knew full well that I have to clean my bathroom 2-3 times a day because your aim is waaayyy off? My sister tried reminding him that no one was trying to hurt him. But his mind told him that everyone else was wrong – but him.

None of what I’ve gone through these past few months matters. I want my dad. I need my dad. I don’t know what’s worse-me holding on to the notion that he would fully come back to me or him thinking that I would actually hurt him.

At the end of July, we had a long discussion about his mom working odd jobs and his dad working in the hospital and how much he loved his kids and grandkids and he would love to re-visit Fort Campbell, KY where he served in the Army decades ago. Some things I never even knew. Having this conversation was great because he was highly upset with me since the day before. But the kicker is that, during this conversation, he thought I was some Jamaican woman whom he had met at his old apt. When I told him my name, he looked at me like I had 10 horns on my head and said, ‘That’s my daughters’ name, too!’ I couldn’t help but shed a little tear.

I struggled with the thought of having to bathe my father, so I called my brother. Call me a wuss or whatever but seeing this other person that he has become is bad enough let alone being privy to all his ‘business’…i just couldn’t do it.

As he begged me to take him home tonight, he told me that he was sorry for all he was putting me through. I guess he figured that if he’d apologize, I wouldn’t ‘hurt’ him. I said, ‘Dad, I know, you just haven’t been yourself lately.’ I just don’t know if I can help you find yourself again.

I lost my mom to cancer in 2001, 5 months before my daughter, her first grandchild, was to be born. I feel as if I’ve lost my father too, now. He’s only fully with me in my memory. His momentary lapses in sanity make it seem like he’s a totally different person.

A friend stopped by tonight to pick up something and spent a few mins talking to me. She told me that she understands what I’m going through with my dad’s dementia because her mom has Alzheimer’s. ‘Its rough. Maybe we should arrange a play-date!’ I laughed hard and loudly. Thanks B, for the best few mins I’ve had in a while!

So while I won’t ‘see’ my father as much as I would like, I guess I will have to relish the moments when he is ‘with’ me and look forward to the time when all of our ailments will be a thing of the past.

I love you and I miss you, Dad!

Visit me at:
zlynnphotography.wordpress.com
Have a Great Day!

Sent from my Palm Pre on AT&T

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2 Comments to “Momentary Sanity”

  1. My prayers are with you, I know your challenge all to well!
    Be strong and remember the good times and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

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