As you know, I’ve been writing about my daddy and how I had been developing a relationship with this vaulted man, and I began writing his story. All the while, making daily phone calls, having to get through not only the emotional vault, but the dreaded disease of Alzheimer’s and its effects of fear of people trying to harm him and steal from him. I took whatever morsels I could get because I knew a little of my dad was better than what many people get, and it was a legacy of stories for my kids and grandkids.
In October, I sent my dad an excerpt from the book so I could see if I was hitting the mark, capturing his story the way he wanted it to be told. When I received the phone call, I could hardly wait to get feedback to see if I had hit the mark and know where to take the story next. But I also braced myself for if he hated it.
“Hello dad, how are you?” I said holding my breath. His first words were strong and harsh, “Shame on you.” My heart sunk. Wow. I had not expected that. ‘What had I said? What was so wrong? ” He replied, “You made me cry.” I heaved a huge sigh of audible relief. I really wanted to get his story right. He also told me that I had written it as if I were there. This is my first time writing ANYONE’S story, so it was scary…even scarier because it was my dad. He told me he was very proud of me..and that he was looking forward to reading more of my story. The next day, my dad had a stroke. He couldn’t talk well at all. The left side of his face was sagging, so his speech was slurred. My heart crushed again…because my dad’s story book was closing…and I would no longer have access to it. Within a few days, my dad could not talk at all. We think he had several more mini strokes..because it was odd we couldn’t hear some except some basic whispers of basic conversatioins.
So now, three months later, my dad still can’t talk. It’s so very sad…and very difficult to watch. He knows what is being said all around him, but he can’t communicate his basic needs, nor can he communicate his feelings. He can no longer write…and even the simpliest communication boards don’t serve him well.
The silver lining is that each day he loses something, and I am more grateful for what I was able to hold onto the day before…which reminds me to just be as present as possible today.
As I go through this process, a million thoughts are writing across my brain. I feel them…I try to grasp them…but I am clumsy. However, I KNOW the power of words..and I KNOW they will heal…and I trust that my dad and I still have a few adventures left in us…I am optimistic. I am grateful. I am blessed.
Thank you dear God for the blessings, even in these tragic, heart breaking moments. Let us both find peace and beauty and yes, still some laughter. That’s what my daddy does best.
Take care my friends,
love your peeps.