Posted on September 24, 2012 by

A Long, Slow Walk Into the Fog

So how did Dad get this way?

As far as we can tell Dad’s memory started to slip right after he finishedBye George. It was fairly subtle at first, forgetting where he put things, not remembering something in his past, forgetting people’s names. It was what would probably be considered normal dimentia. 

Dad was always a great story teller. Anytime he got up to give a speech he would always tell a joke or story. Usually Mom played a ficticious role, and usually reacted with a smile and eye roll. So we knew that when Dad started to repeat stories that his memory was going south. Then he started repeating questions, and it became more obvious. And given his genes, we knew where it was headed. 

Soon he couldn’t drive anymore, which may have been due as much to his macular degeneration than his memory loss. He would forget where he was going – I remember him getting lost in the World Dairy Expo parking lot, only to be “rescued” by a nice guy on a golf cart who brought Dad back to the Coliseum. Then he forgot the names of long-time friends, then family members, then his kids. 

I always saw Dad as the consumate public relations person, and I think that’s how he was able to hide the slide to the outside world for so long. But after awhile it was obvious.

I often wonder what he was thinking, and how he was feeling, as he felt his memory slip away. At some point he had to realize that it was happening, and he had to know where it was headed. I admire my Dad for a lot of things, but I probably admire him most for the way he faced the impending “fog”. He didn’t complain or wonder why he had been chosen for this fate. Being in his shoes, I’m not sure I could face it the same way.

Because now that Dad’s in his fog, he’s not at all the same person he was. The person represented by my Dad’s body is technically my Dad. But the person who was my Dad left long ago.

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  • Colleen said:

    "I was searching for information on dealing with grief after the death of a loved one with Alzheimers and came across your blog. My mom died last month after 5 years of being in a nursing home with Alzheimers. It started with a stroke that set her back and then a broken hip. She decided that she didn't want to walk anymore so we had to take her to a nursing home to have the care she needed. So my greiving started 5 years ago. There were so many times that I left her and cried all the way home. It was so hard to see her go downhill and knew there was no turning back. When I first knew of her Alzheimers diagnosis, I remember one Saturday morning that I could not stop crying. The reality of it all hit me like a lead balloon. I told my husband that the day she no longer knows me will be the day that she dies. BOY WAS I WRONG! Then is when I wanted more time with her just to try to get her to remember me. And she did, several times after the first time she forgot. Each time that happened, I felt it was a gift from God. Now, I am confused...For 5 years I grieved over losing mom. I knew that some day the disease would take her life and that would be it. In actuality, she died from an anurysm quickly in the last stages of the disease. This is what I prayed for...I wanted her to die quickly from something other than Alzheimers. God heard my prayer and for that I am grateful. For several weeks after her death I was happy for her and shed very few tears. But now, I am missing her like crazy. The tears are coming frequently and with such sadness. I miss going to see her every few days and little things will come to my mind that triggers the tears. Why is this happening now and not when she died? Is it because of the long goodbye?".

  • joyce Mordoh said:

    "So sorry to hear about your father. My mother also has Alzheimers and it is devastating for me to watch. No longer the person she was, like your father, but the love remains the same. What can we do? Hope for a cure. Prevention, coconut oil, who knows. I hope God helps us through this.".

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