When people ask me how my dad is doing, I am always overwhelmed on how I should answer. Most of the time I say he is physically well but mentally unwell. I don’t really want to elaborate on how ‘unwell’ he is. I don’t want people to feel sorry for him, to feel sorry for my family… to feel sorry for me… But I don’t want them to think that my dad is doing great so that they will forget him in their prayers. Because he is not okay. And he needs all the prayers he can get.
My father has Alzheimer’s. Some think that Alzheimer’s is a disease with a cure. But it does not have a known cure. And it can only get worse as each day comes. My dad is not even 60. But his mind is quickly degenerating. Every time I go to see him, I fear the day when he will stop remembering me. With my mother’s updates on his well being, I can feel that day is coming really soon…
I miss the times when I knew I could ask him anything and he would have a wise answer- when his advise would weigh so much on my decisions even as an adult. My dad has been a rock to me while I was growing up. Not just to me, but to a lot of people. And it’s difficult to imagine that that rock is
slowly being weathered away by factors beyond our control. Factors that we can’t manipulate. Factors that we can only hope to be kind.
These days our conversations are limited to me telling him I love him and asking him how his day was. He would just say fine and bite on his towel. He has developed this uncontrollable knack to bite on a towel my mom gives him. Towel debris would be scattered all over the place where he sits. My mom would need to clean that up. Along with all of the other mess he can’t keep himself from making.
But even if I cannot get a normal conversation with my dad anymore, my kids love him. My kids love their lolo. They think he is funny. And when he shouts, they think its playful banter and they shout back. They would laugh together. They are not afraid. I wanted them to have that kind of relationship with their lolo. Something I missed because I was not close to mine. Something I hope they will remember once the moments and opportunities are gone.
My mother has been a champ through it all. Sometimes she tries too hard to be a champ. We don’t have house help and she takes care of my dad by herself. An alzheimer’s patient being taken care of by an almost 60 year old woman. When she shares her day, whether good or bad, and mostly bad, I am always speechless. I am helpless. How can I give comfort to my mom when my heart is breaking into a million pieces too? How can I tell her its going to be okay when I know it will only get worse? My younger brother has been the most diplomatic among us three siblings. He always has something to say. And God bless his heart that he does not fail to be comforting every time.
I cry during my nightly prayers as I pray for my dad and my mom. For a miracle. For his relief. For my mom’s strength and endurance and protection… And that’s the only time I find comfort. I won’t get it anywhere else. No where else.
“my hope is built on nothing less…
on Christ the Solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand…”