Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Letter to Dad, V

Dear Dad,

It's been a really long time since I've written a letter to you. In fact, it's been so long, I had to go back and search this blog for the last letter with your name on it. I can't believe it's been ten or so months. Those months have gone fast, though, and that's partly because you've stayed relatively healthy and you haven't had to call on us to come over and help you out. And that's a good thing, because with four active children and all the things we do here on a daily basis, I barely have time for helping myself, much less helping you guys out. But please know that, if you need it, I'll still put away my obligations and help you. I am your daughter, after all.

I have a question, though. It's been about a year since Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, which means we have maybe eight, maybe ten years left with her. (Just stating a fact here, not trying to dwell on the negative.) And you're already sitting at 80 years of age...

So yes, I'm wondering what you're going to do about living at home. Over the past ten months, you've visited your daughters more, most likely because you're tired and need a break from all of the work you're doing at home. But we can't always give you that break. So why don't you just move? Why not pick up what you have and go somewhere smaller, somewhere that has amenities and services so that you won't have to "take care of everything," as you are prone to say.

I'm trying my best to accept you for the person you are. I'm trying to understand how hard it will be when I need to change my own venue sometime in the future. I'm really trying to walk in your shoes. But this past weekend, when you reiterated, again, that you "do all the cooking now" and uttered the phrase like you should get a medal of honor for your time, I just about wanted to walk away from the conversation.

Do you have any idea what's going on in Mom's head right now? I don't. But I can imagine that trying to find the right words is difficult and frustrating for her. That trying to remember what someone said three minutes ago makes her uptight. That being confused in a world where she didn't used to be confused might be downright maddening for her. And that truly, she'd rather be doing the cooking you seem to detest at this moment. Because yes, Dad, she'd rather she didn't have this disease either.

But news flash: she does. And as time goes on, you really need to come up with a plan. Because you won't be here forever, and Mom is going to need more help than I think you're going to be willing to give, even if you're still here when she needs it.

So later on this week, when you come to visit for Melina's birthday, let's come up with that plan. I've always been a good planner.


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