Monday, May 23, 2011

A Thief and a Gift

My Dad is losing more and more of his memories. He can't participate in 'remember when's' anymore. He can't tell me stories of why I was given the name I have or stories of me as a child or trips we went on. He forgets my name and the names of my nieces and nephews. We're losing my Dad, piece by piece. His forgetfulness shakes his confidence. He often denigrates himself and says he's stupid or a dummy. That is hard to hear. He's not and never has been stupid. Forgetting can be a good thing: he's forgotten the bad times, the stressful times. This is the first year that he did not remark on the anniversary of my Mom's death.

I have the opportunity to get to know my Dad in a whole new way. I get to learn a little bit more of his likes and dislikes. I am seeing how he makes light of his suffering and offers it up. I am seeing where I get the goofy, weird side of my personality. I enjoy every single minute that I have with my Dad. That is a tremendous gift.

Dealing with dementia is hard. It will get harder. This is not a fair or easy disease. Please pray for a happy, peaceful death for my Dad.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for those with dementia and strengthen those who take care of them. Amen.