What memory are you grateful for?
Memories of who my dad used to be. My dad is 89 in March and after a few years of ill-health, the worst of which was a stroke towards the end of last year, he is a shell of who he used to be. He hobbles around, bent over, not knowing whats going on, sometimes forgetting who people are. He is not the man of my childhood years, teenage years and even early adult years. Having a young family kept him on his toes and no one ever believed he was as old as he was. He always kept active, even after he retired from the building industry, by pottering around the house, doing repairs and renovations. Then time caught up with him. He stopped keeping up with us and his health declined.
It’s sad because even though my husband and boys have met him, they never met the dad I knew when I was younger, because he was already on the decline when I met my husband.
I am grateful for the memories I have of my dad when I was little. He was generous to a fault. He was a loving father who always went out of his way to do things for myself and my sister. When I was older we had many a great afternoon drinking rums and having a laugh about life.
But all these past-tense comments make me sad. He forgets who my kids and husband are. Now he is just a grumpy, confused, sick old man who cries to my mother that he doesn’t want to be a burden to her anymore and talks about killing himself.
This isn’t the first person who I have to see have a depressing decline towards death. My maternal grandfather ended his time on earth with severe mental health issues that made him paranoid of everyone and everything. My maternal grandmother developed Alzheimer’s Disease and anyone who has witnessed this first hand knows that this is hard to watch. And we had to watch this for over 10 years with my grandmother because her body was healthy it was just her head that had gone.
I don’t want that for my dad. I want his suffering to end. I love my dad and it’s hard to say that but I do not want him to hurt anymore.
I am grateful that I have wonderful memories with an amazing dad.