Don’t you wish there were a warning sign like this to point out a “Rough Road” in life?” Not only is there a sign, but a pink flag waving in the wind!
My daughter pointed this sign out to me on our way to school one day. It made us giggle because we were going through some tough times. Lately, the writing road has been a tough one for me….mostly time because my day job, teaching is really busy now. But honestly, the toughest part is working on my dad’s story. Dad is locked up tight inside again.
Alzheimer’s is a nasty beast to the patient and to the families. It is confusing to know what to say and what not to say because they are so caught up in fear and paranoia that often we don’t know what to say. I can’t even hardly talk about what he’s going through on this post for fear that it will get back to him and somehow hurt him. And I’m not trying to hurt anyone. I’m just working for understanding, and writing it to you gets it out of me.
You see, what Alzheimer patients are going through is very very real to them. As my dad’s story unfolds, I realize more and more where his fears come from. He is afraid of people attacking him because he was jumped daily on his way to and from school. He feared for his life often because he knew the guys who jumped him carried knives, and he didn’t know when they would pull one on him.
Rush forward to the present, dad feels this same fear of people wanting to harm him and fearing for his life. Like I said, it’s REAL to HIM. His reasoning skills are waning, so I can’t reason with him about what is real. The most I can do is find ways to comfort him and refocus his energy on positive things. And sometimes I just listen because he needs a way to get the ugly out of him.
I won’t give you details because it will feel like airing dirty laundry. It’s not like that. It’s just that I want you to know there are others out there who understand what you are going through and maybe we can talk strategies together.
Sometimes poetry works with dad because he had such a love for words. And words can be healing. We’ve even written some poetry. For a little while oils like peppermint and orange worked, until he was afraid that the oils were something that would harm instead of help him. Everyone says to use music, but he doesn’t like it and doesn’t have a player. I know through interviews there was music he liked fondly. I’m hoping this summer to bring a CD player with me to visit him with some of those songs to try this out.
The good news is that these episodes go in cycles with some really bad days and then clear days just pop in. I must always be ready because I never know if “today will be the day.”
But I do know this, I never know how much time I will have with him, so I cherish each moment and every morsel of him that is revealed, the good, the bad and the ugly…because he’s my dad…he’s a part of me, and his history is part of me, and I want his grandchildren and great grandchildren to know this man better than the “vaulted man” I knew most of my life. I want to get as many locks off as I can.
Nemaste dear friends. ~Marie