Tonight as I helped my mother get my father into bed I leaned over, kissed him good night and said goodbye to him. I explained to him that I was going home the next morning and would be leaving early, probably too early for him to be awake. I had told him this a number of times today because with dementia he didn’t remember.

This was the hardest goodbye I have ever said. He replied to me “Have a safe trip and if you can come back that would be good. I love you and miss you already.’ With that I kissed him one more time and then had to leave the room because the tears were rolling down my face. This will most likely be the last time I am able to speak to him, tell him I love him and say goodbye.

This week with my family has been a really tough one. Yes we have made memories and had some great laughs and it was really good having Christmas with everyone. But it was all tinged with a touch of sadness because dad isn’t going to be around much longer. Mind you I did say to my mom tonight that he is so pigheaded and stubborn that he would probably outlast us all. I think I know where I get it from now!

The sadness has come from watching a man who was bigger than life itself. A strong, tall, commanding man who hates what is happening to him. How do I know this? From the tears he sheds apologising to my mother for having to do things for him like helping him dress, wash, shave, eat, walk, stand up, sit down and help him in the bathroom. From the words that come out of his mouth such as ‘I don’t want to live like this’ or ‘I just want to be normal’. We don’t even treat our pets like this. I’m not going to make this a stand on your soapbox talk, but where is the dignity in living like this if you don’t want too?

Tomorrow morning will be the hardest of all when I say goodbye to mom and walk out the door. I know that I will be back again maybe sooner rather than later to say a final goodbye but tomorrow when I’m gone I won’t be there to help mom with those daily living activities that he relies on her for, that will once again fall on my sister Cindy’s shoulders and the carers that come in to help.

But I will be forever grateful that I have been able to spend this last 8 days with my hero, my idol, my father. I love you dad!

The best family in the world!

The best family in the world!

About the author : CarolC

13 Comments

  1. Josie 28/12/2015 at 8:02 am - Reply

    Feeling for you Carol…and especially as it is Christmas time. X lots of love and hugs to you all X Josie.

    • CarolC 28/12/2015 at 3:41 pm - Reply

      Thanks Josie xx

  2. HP 28/12/2015 at 9:30 am - Reply

    Dear Carol, thnaks for your so emotional words about the days with your family and especially your dad.
    I will visit my mum next days with Ulrike – she is 88 and has also alzheimer – some times she knows who is with her, somestimes she asks us who we are.
    It is not always easy to visit her – it is a 7 hour car-drive – but she spent so many hours for us 3 children – so my intention is to give back so many hours as possible.

    Have a good new year and I’m looking forward to see you and the whole Australian Team in Europe – may be you can arrange the week before the WC in Oostende/Belgium with our C1 race in Cologne nearby Dortmund where I live.

    Many very friendly greetings and till soon

    HP

    • CarolC 28/12/2015 at 3:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks HP and Ulrike, it is tough, good luck for your visit with your mum. I will see you in Cologne for sure, I will be coming over to Europe around the 6th of May. Will fill you in more by email. xxx

  3. Ruth Stuettgen 28/12/2015 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    Carol, what a heartfelt post. I’m sorry you had to leave your dad like this, but happy you were able to spend quality time with him. I can only imagine what it must feel like. I still have both my parents yet know that at any time, given their advanced ages and deteriorating health, they can pass on. So any time spent with them is precious. Have a safe journey home and may you find strength in whatever may happen. Love, Ruth

    • CarolC 28/12/2015 at 3:43 pm - Reply

      Thank you Ruth xx

  4. Pamela 28/12/2015 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    Carol,

    I have had exactly the same experience, both at Christmas, with my father-in-law and my father. I had tears in my eyes reading your post. The pain of saying good-bye and the gratefulness of knowing you are saying good-bye. Bittersweet.

    The indignity of the body giving out and taking far too long to give up is a whole other discussion…

    Hugs,

    Pamela

    • CarolC 28/12/2015 at 3:44 pm - Reply

      Yes I agree Pamela, definitely a whole other discussion! Thank you for your kind words. xx

  5. Cindy Banks 28/12/2015 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    Don’t Fear my dear Sis. Although sometime I feel – as I know you do – that my heart is breaking, ALL is as it should be.
    Now get out there and kick ass, ha ha.
    Love forever Cindy

    • CarolC 29/12/2015 at 12:22 am - Reply

      You can always make me laugh, I love you to the moon and back xxxx

  6. Joycelyn 29/12/2015 at 4:25 am - Reply

    Hi Carol
    Thank you for sharing those very personal feelings with those who care for you. You are a very brave and caring person. I loved the photo of your family and thought how like you are to your mother. Will be thinking of you as we begin 2016. Regards Joycelyn

    • CarolC 30/12/2015 at 4:54 am - Reply

      Thanks Joycelyn, Happy New Year to you and your family.

  7. Joycelyn 29/12/2015 at 4:28 am - Reply

    Ditto Cindy
    Joycelyn

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