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!