Alzheimers is a cruel disease. You read about it. You shudder not wanting to read about almost like you want to keep your distance from it in case it is 'catching'.
When my father was diagnosed with it many years ago, we embraced it as it happened as a family, but did not realize the burden our mother carried as she tried to keep things 'normal'. She has grown a great deal since those first years as it almost cost her own life caring for him.
I am reflecting back today over this journey grasping memories from the past years and linking them to memories from his healthy years. Dad is in the last stages of this disease.
Only my father would do it his way and not the way it is suppose to be. He retains his dignity, his grace and his 'gentlemanly' ways. His temperament stays even on moderate drugs and when you give him a sip of thick ice tea, his eyes sparkle and he says, "That is mighty good."
I am making new memories now with him, and realize even Alzheimers has not taken the core of this man... the spirit that God placed in him at conception 82 years ago. My father is dying with God's grace upholding him. Ever the gentleman, ever the caregiver, his words when spoken are often in reflective concern for mom and for 'the kids'. In some ways he seems back in the 'now' and not the past.
Over the next month I am or may not be blogging as much as we have set our schedule to be in and out of Dallas on a regular basis to be with him and to be with my mother. This 180 degree turn with his health occurred the first part of November and we watched this fairly heathy Alzheimers patient become bedridden and withdrawn. The nurses say it is part of the end of the journey. My dad is walking this path with dignity and God at his side.
Words from my heart,
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1,26 NIV