Through Their Eyes

1 Comment

I recently read a fellow blogger’s post about the joy of watching the world through her daughter’s eyes.  She detailed how wonderful it is to watch her daughter mesmerized by something as simple as a bubble floating by or a leaf laying in the yard (I can’t remember whose blog it was so if you see this, fellow blogger, feel free to say, ‘That was my blog that inspired you!’). 

I get to appreciate the small things through my daughter’s eyes as well (brag interruption – that is my beautiful little one in the picture – okay, that’s enough –  back to humility). She is two, and her joy in serving me make-believe soda or just jumping up and down makes us both giddy.  So, while reading the blog, it dawned on me how much my dad’s current view of the world resembles a child’s view. 

Now, I understand that Alzheimers is a regressive disease and that he will eventually return to that needy, helpless place that you are in as a baby.  Nothing remotely positive about the regressive process had ever crossed my mind!  A sixty-six year old man should be enjoying his retirement, travelling, and playing golf.  He shouldn’t have to have his children taking care of him or throw a tantrum when we have to stop him from doing something he wants.  How can anything be positive about that?

But, wait a second! Being a child is great! And we love babies and their helplessness and sweetness.  I never thought  about the joy that perhaps I can experience through my father’s eyes.  He lives on the water and he jumps out of his seat and gets his binoculars several times a day to see the boats and barges sailing by.  And he loves sweets!  Together we get to enjoy a dessert or a iced coffee drink with whipped cream and caramel in a way that we never would have done if he did not have a child-like wonder!

Can I really make lemonade out of lemons here? I don’t know, but I know I have to stop and appreciate who he is now and continue to do so in the future. Although he may not be a shoulder to lean on for comfort or advice anymore, isn’t learning to appreciate the small things one of the most important lessons in life? My dad is still teaching me lessons on how to live my life to the fullest.

Moving on?

1 Comment

Moving day is over.  The ex-wife‘s things are out of my dad’s house and, from what I hear, the process went fairly smoothly.  I think we all stressed more than necessary, but isn’t that usually how it works?  Getting past this point was a huge relief to us all, but I know my dad has not let his anger and hurt go just because he had to let the “stuff” go. 

As a therapist, I know that letting go of anger and hurt is a difficult yet important part of healing from any trauma or loss.  This is a monumental task for anyone who goes through a divorce, but I can’t even fathom the task it is for my father given his dementia.  He gets extremely confused and can not sort out his thoughts or emotions which always seem to focus on anger and being a victim.  He can’t remember his own contribution to the downfall of the marriage.  What he knows is that he has Alzheimer’s  and his wife left him in January when he was out of town, took a lot of their possessions, and didn’t even leave a note. 

What I want him to do is be able to go to a therapist and work through his anger and pain. What I want him to be able to do is sort through his destructive thoughts and be able to challenge the validity of the things he tells himself such as “she has been planning this for years” and “I have been betrayed.”  But he can not because shortly after I talk him through his anger by pointing out how history contradicts these statements, he forgets and his mind begins telling himself these stories once again.

I hope the adage that ‘time heals all wounds’ comes to fruition for my father’s sake.  But is that possible in a mind where time and space has become distorted and that will never heal?

Give me a “F” Give me a…..

5 Comments

I haven’t written in a while.  I think my sandwich was getting too big to fit my mouth around – when that happens I tend to focus on just getting through the day.   The weekend is looming, however, and my stress is rising for my dad, my sister and my brother, so here I am!

So, what is happening this weekend you might ask?  This is the weekend my dad’s soon-to-be-ex-wife will be moving things out of my dad’s house. My brother will be in the house when the movers come (along with soon-to-be-ex-wife’s daughter) while my sister takes my dad out to shop for Christmas presents.  This would be a hard day for anyone, but it is especially hard given the dementia.  He is paranoid about a lot and particularly paranoid about what will be removed from his house.  We weighed the options of either letting him stay and watch or take him out of the situation, but in the end we felt that he would struggle with being around the soon-to-be-ex-wife’s daughter.  Can you imagine already being confused and depressed and then to have people come and take your things from your house?  It is a truly horrible day for him.

I am not going to be there this weekend. I have my most loveliest friends in my world visiting me this weekend and, therefore, will not bear the burden of calming, negotiating, policing, explaining, comforting…  but I feel like I would be less concerned if I could play some role.  I have no control from my home and pleasant distractions two hours away.  I know my sister and brother can manage it but, as a team and each other’s biggest fans, I want to be there. 

I guess my job is cheerleader and humourist.  Because soon-be-ex-wife sent a diagram of the things she is getting from the house, I sent my brother and sister a diagram of a rude gesture I would like to give in return!  Obviously it is a behind the scenes coping mechanism, and they are going to be polite and civil, but it helps to laugh!  I guess I have to go think of some other things I can do to cheer them through the weekend.  I really don’t like cheerleading in sports given the sexy outfits and objectification of women, but I am getting out my spirit fingers and practicing my high kicks!  Go TEAM! (was that good?)