|A sketch of my dad at The Waiting Miner|
Well, I have been into this #dementiasucks lark for over two weeks now, helping my dad in his 24/7 care as he battles dementia, my mum laid up in rehab care, recovering from an emergency hip replacement (partial) and it feels like a roller coaster of emotions.
It has also been a road of self discovery, self belief, crying by self, sleeping by self and being by self...so I have raided my mums iPad and blogged away contently at what I can only describe as "can this year get any better or worse."
Apart from the games, zip up and down, pants up, pants down, sock on, sock off, walk around the living room, touch things, move things, move things back things, the singing to nowt but Nat King Cole, telly on, telly off, open front door, close front door, wipe up, chuck cuttery in any fooking drawer, take them out, put them back..."Hey son!? Is this right?"; then the daily ritual of recycling so then have to play that outdoor game of "get the right recyclable into the correct bin"... then you wonder and question why, why, why?
That is a just part of his daily routines and habits and when one becomes accustomed to them, like eating meals with his cutlery knife, then it makes this caring lark a little more easier as each day passes and not the dreaded challenge that I feared. I discovered things, met past acquaintances, met people I have never met before and probably never has my dad as he goes about that staring, eventually asking "Do I know you?".... Jeez next time I will make sure I put that extra hour on my car!
Then there is the dribbling, runny nose, shuffling of his feet, kicking away the fallen rubbish or leaf on the ground. And, when we visit mum there is the calling her precious...but most of all is the crying, floods of tears that I just can't hold back...weep, weep, weep! Oh and dad crying too!
The saddest and most hurting bit is being apart from my family...my good wife...now leading the single mother life style but still struggling with the family ups and downs of before and now. I miss my kids, taking my daughter reluctantly to the station each day #dadstaxi; the giving-in to the daily demands of my son, our son, troublesome in the nicest possible way.
So I find myself here with dad, sometimes lonely, building up a new relationship with a father whom is a totally different character...not the dad I once knew, not the dad he was and never will be again, but still my dad, my brother and sisters' dad, husband of nearly 60 years to mum...for he has changed due to dementia and will keep changing, downwardly until Heaven has a room ready for him.
In this brief time, we have become closer. We have had walks out, family have visited and I am blessed with the knowing how truly wonderful my aunts and uncles have been...dutiful so dutiful. And I found out that I can cook....don't tell the wife...I can organise but maybe not assertively as my sister - poor big brother he got a sharp telling off - and I can clean plumbing pipes!!
And with this organising, arranging care, I have learnt to be sneaky and state a few fibs to dad so not cause upset in his thinking, his worry or concern that may well arise from telling the truth...so on Monday daddy you are going to the day centre...no, no, no...it's a surprise sort of party, get together with others like you, suffering like you and they will have old stuff there to aid your memories.
At each crossroad along the way I have felt the weakness, the urge to cry but slowly I have to control my emotions as I learn each skill that is needed such as last night, the mishap from toiletry, something that tested my resolve and anxiety and then today the display of anger as my brother came to relieve me for the duty to our father who is living in the moment.
So that's the way it is...normality may never return, no, not may, but never will.